The KN95 respirators, popularized by a spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), are still misconstrued when it comes to their true functionality. KN95 work to block particles. For example, suppose a virus is like coffee grounds, and KN95 is like a coffee filter. When you use a coffee filter, grounds don’t get in a coffee mug below (your lungs). Only liquid (the clean, quality air) can get through.
N95 respirators, also known as the N95 masks are filters for air that are secured on the head and face to halt the passing of virus’ as well as other pollution particles before they can pass into the lung tissue. The success rate of N95 masks is varying, but both arguments are accurately presented below.
Regular KN95 Mask
N95 is a rating scale from the nationwide rating scale or health occupation and safety which equates to the mask removing 95% of particles. In order to filter negative things out of air, the breathe actually has to come through the respirator (meaning the seal of the mask needs to be good). The best way to test this is with a fit test.
KN95 With Valve
Thomas Talhelm, head of behavioral sciences at University of Chicago, performed an experiment to test just how many foreign particles get through the layers of the regular KN95 versus the KN95s with a valve. His results are as follows:
- There’s no clear difference between the two options with and without valves.
- Some more well-known, highest performing options have valves.
- The top three performing ones all had valves. Following them, the next three didn’t have valves.
Thomas also stated that the mask did work for a long while, but he used the mask every day two times a day. The seal eventually wore down, and the strap broke. Other than that, however, the mask still worked as intended and no other issues were discovered by the experiment. Still, it is important to note that these masks are intended to be disposed of after use.
What ‘s the Bottom Line?
The real issue isn’t necessarily a matter of the fit of a mask, but an amalgamation of the fit combined with just how coarse the fragments are, and how well a mask fit is preventing flow in through the layers.
Vented ones are needed for comfortability, and non-vented counterparts are only minorly cheaper. A vent is a one-way valve that allows your air to leave without pressing on the inside of the mask or heating up your spectacles. Even if it doesn’t make the mask any better at controlling what comes in and out of it when you breathe, the comfort with the vent is significantly better.
Buy non-vented options if you are using it to keep your sickness to yourself. While masks aren’t designed to catch stuff leaving out of your body, they will still clean any breath that goes through their layers. With a vent installed most of the air passing out of your mouth does not go through a filter.
Bottom line: Valved KN95 have no clear downside in effectiveness, and they are more comfortable. Valved options are a clear winner (although they do tend to be a bit more expensive than their non-valved counterparts).