Is YOUR mask safe? Doctors warn that Delhi toxic air defences may not work as sales of purifiers and masks surge
- Purchases have increased by up to 10 times as Delhi remains in the grip of a poisonous smog cloud
- But doctors have said that there is still doubt about the effectiveness of them
- Manufacturers, however, say that products comply with international standards
- See more news from India at www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome
As the sales of air purifiers and face masks increase by eight to 10 times in a month, and threefold in the last two days, doctors are still in doubt about the effectiveness of the defences – terming them as valueless cosmetic products.
Driven by smog and high levels of pollution in the city, residents are making all sorts of efforts to make the air breathable.
Health experts have said that in India no study has been done to find out how authentic and efficient the respirators and air purifiers are.
Delhi has been chocking in a cloud of thick toxic smog for the past month – but are masks, such as the ones pictured, effective?
School children take out march to express their distress on the alarming levels of pollution in the city. No doctors are warning that face masks may not be effective
However, manufacturing companies claim that their products follow international standard guidelines, since India has set no such guideline so far. Companies thus, are using AHAM (American) and China certification.
‘About 99 per cent of masks, available in the market, are made of clothes. These are similar to a cosmetic product. Only N-95 and N-99 respirators can protect us from particulate matters – that too if it is worn very tightly around the mouth and nose 24×7,’ Dr Arvind Kumar, chairman of chest surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital told Mail Today.
Sharing his personal experience of using N-95, 99 masks, Dr Kumar said people cannot wear these for more than 45 minutes.
‘The pores are so tiny that it creates a lot of resistance to the passage of air. So, one needs to put more effort breathe while wearing it,’ he said, adding that people are still not aware of how the masks should be used.
Doctors are not satisfied with the functioning of air purifiers as well. They have pointed out that air purifiers work in a closed room – just like air-conditioners.
Arvind Chabra, country-head of Blue Air, a company selling air purifiers, claimed that in the last month, sales of air purifiers have gone up by eight to 10 times and that they are highly effective, made following international standards guidelines.
Pollution has been smothering the area following crop burning early last month
Accepting the fact that air purifiers should be used according to the size of the room, Chabra told Mail Today: ‘Even renowned schools have contacted us for the placement of air purifiers there. A lot of other groups have contacted us for the same.’
Echoing similar views, Dr Vikas Maurya, head of respiratory medicine at Fortis Hospital, said that surgical and cloth masks are meant for one-time use and also not recommended for places, where the pollution levels are high enough.
‘It should be noted that the N-95 and N-99 masks are not advisable for asthmatic and COPD patients at all. This is because breathing while having put these on requires lot of pressure,’ the doctor informed.
Taking cognigance of what the people in the Capital need, given the poor air quality, the city government has made all necessary arrangements for respiratory patients in hospitals.
Rajiv Yadhuvanshi, Delhi health secretary said: ‘All the hospitals have adequate face masks, nebulisers, medicines and dedicated beds for chest patients. We have given health advisory and there is nothing to be in panic as of now.’