As far as health is concerned it’s a no-brainer: cycling outside has myriad wellbeing benefits – both physical and psychological. However, if you cycle in a busy town or city, then it’s worth investing in an anti-pollution cycling mask.
A 2018 report by the World Health Organisation found that 40 areas in the UK, including London, Manchester and Swansea, are at or have exceeded air pollution limits.
Exposure to black carbon – the sooty, fine-particle pollution that’s emitted from diesel fumes, dust and sources that burn fossil fuels – can, over time, have serious health consequences, and increases the risk of developing respiratory diseases, lung cancer, heart disease and strokes.
That’s where anti-pollution cycling masks come in. A study, published in the journal of Atmospheric Environment, which assessed air pollution exposure in cities found that people are most exposed to black carbon when cycling.
Anti-pollution cycling masks help to filter out tiny black carbon particles, to reduce your exposure whilst going about your commute.
How do anti-pollution cycling masks work?
Anti-pollution cycling masks either have built-in or removable filters that help to significantly reduce the inhalation of harmful particles from air pollution.
They don’t look that dissimilar to the face masks we wear daily to slow transmission of COVID-19 – they cover the mouth and nose and loop over the ears or around the head – though it’s worth noting that the two aren’t interchangeable as anti-pollution masks for cyclists aren’t medically regulated, and often don’t provide the same level of protection against viruses.
Filters which are common on cycling masks (to make it easier to breathe) have also been found to be counter-productive in virus spread prevention.
What to look for in an anti-pollution cycling mask
There are two important considerations when shopping for an anti-pollution cycling mask.
The first: make sure it has an N95 or N99 certification, which indicates the percentage of particles the mask can potentially protect against. So, an N95 rating filters 95% of small particulate, whilst an N99 rating filters 99%.
Secondly, search for an anti-pollution cycling mask that fits your face well. Pay attention to online sizing guides, as too large and gaping could render the mask effectively pointless, and too small could result in discomfort.
1) Respro® Ultralight™ Mask
Respro’s Ultralight™ was designed for use in hot and humid conditions, so it’s ideal for cycling.
Four-way stretch fabric allows a comfy fit, and a velcro fastening relieves ears from any discomfort.
The PM2.5 filter helps to block tiny particles from pollution.
5) Respro® Techno™ Mask
Respro’s Techno™ mask comes in three adult sizes and four colour options.
It has a combination filter system that blocks small particle pollution including PM2.5, and filters are replaceable.
The velcro fastening and nose pinch tab offer a comfy, adjustable fit.
via Women’s Health