Though the PSI reading has now improved considerably, one should still take precautions, especially the elderly, pregnant, and those with lung or heart disease.
The PM2.5 particle level is still worrying. You should wear a mask for your own protection.
Respiratory Mask (N95)
Haze particles are mostly 2.5 microns or smaller (PM2.5), and N95 masks are specially-designed to filter out 95 per cent of fine particles that are about 0.1 to 0.3 microns, as well as some non-oil based particles. Replace the mouth mask with a new one when it becomes dirty, or distorted. This ensures the mask you are using is effective.
As N95 masks are designed to seal one’s face such that the air one breathes in has to go through the filter and not through the gaps between the mask and the face, it is important to wear the mask correctly to be well-protected.
There are a few models including the 3M N95 Respirator 8210 with soft nose foam and adjustable nose clip; the 3M N95 Respirator 9210 that comes in a flat-fold design for easier storage and soft cover web on the inner panel that provides greater comfort; and the 3M VFlex N95 with a filter design and V-shaped pleats for even greater comfort and breathability. This new mask will be retailing from July.
Some other N95 masks include the 3M 1860 which is often used in healthcare institutions; the 3M 1860 which is often used in healthcare institutions; the 3M 1860s, which is similar to it except that it is for smaller faces; the 3M 8110S, which is similar to the common 3M 8210, also for smaller faces; the Drager Piccola FFP3, a cone-shaped masked for better fit and the Kimberly-Clark 46727, which is pouch-style, with a large breathing chamber.
Do note that N95 respiratory masks have not been certified for children’s usage, so it is advisable for them to stay indoors when the PSI levels are high. Women in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy should not wear the masks for extended periods.
N95 masks are NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the USA) approved, and are available in pharmacies and stores such as Unity, Guardian, Watsons, NTUC and others, and in hospital pharmacies, hardware stores and 3M authorized safety suppliers.
The type of mask worn by medical personnel to prevent the spread of viruses, many people wore this mask during outbreaks of the SARS virus. Like paper masks, surgical masks are not effective and do not adequately filter out haze particles.
You can also visit this website at www.ilovedeals.sg/home/where-to-buy-mask to find other places where you can obtain a mask.
Source: Weekender, June 28-July 4, 2013