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Pollution filter masks

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Pollution filter masks

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Old 11-01-04, 09:55 AM
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Moog
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Pollution filter masks

I commute five miles each way per day in London, and am getting fed up of inhaling lung-fulls of sooty exhaust fumes from buses, lorries and other road vehicles. I'm thinking of getting a pollution filter mask, but have heard contradictory reviews, some saying they are great, others saying the masks don't filter out the smallest (most dangerous) particles, and restrict breathing.

What are peoples experience of these masks? Asthmatics who find they alleviate their problems? People who say their breathing is restricted? All sides of the story wanted!!

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Old 11-01-04, 02:40 PM
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Michel Gagnon
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I have no experience with those sold for cycling, but know quite a bit about cartridge masks in general and have used a few of them in industrial applications.

Basically, there are two types of masks:
- Particulate masks, which don't prevent breathing too much and block particules such as dust, pollen (a good chunk), etc. They would block suit, but won't block chemicals.
- Chemical masks, which are based on some kind of carbon dust ("charbon activé" in French). They would control chemical agents such as gasoline fumes, nitrous oxide, sulfur, chloride, etc. (depending on the specific mask chosen). They aren't successful in cases where there is carbon monoxide poisoning, because there isn't enough air to breathe. Their capacity is limited and there is a lot of resistance to breathing... just like if you were breathing through a big straw. Generally, when the cartridge has expired, there is less resistance, but also no effect.

As for effects on asthmatics, the added resistance might be a bonus in the cold, because it means air has time to get warmer before it reaches the lungs. OTOH, don't stand on your pedals to climb a hill.

A final note: if you drill a hole for the cigarette, the cartridge isn't very effective to say the least...
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Old 11-01-04, 03:26 PM
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AndrewP
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I think the ones to filter particulates, are what you would want for traffic fumes as the small soot particles have a cumulative health effect, while the body has ways of ridding itself of small quantities nitrous, sulphur dioxide, CO and CO2.
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Old 11-02-04, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP
while the body has ways of ridding itself of small quantities nitrous, sulphur dioxide, CO and CO2.
I believe you're right about most of those compounds in small quantities, though I haven't check my enviro health & med stuff lately.

Not to be rude, but the body does have a pretty good system for getting rid of CO2 in fairly large quantities. It's known as respiration, or breathing . Meant in the best of fun .
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