Whereas making ready for a current journey to Qatar and China, I had lots of questions on selecting an air pollution masks for China, particularly since everybody stored warning me about how smoggy it will possibly get in Beijing and Shanghai.

BUY the mask for pollution

Lady driving her bicycle on a freezing morning in Beijing

That is my story with a number of ideas and pictures from my journey for anybody making an attempt to decide on one of the best air pollution masks for China. You’ll additionally see my prime two suggestions: Respro and Cambridge Masks.

First, I explored all of the choices accessible. Mainly, there’s a myriad of air air pollution masks, however, not all are created equal. Let’s get began with three fundamental varieties.

Varieties of Air Air pollution Masks

Surgical Masks


There are various kinds of masks together with terry material ones just like the lady above is sporting

That is your fundamental surgical masks. As you may think, it’s precisely what a surgeon wears within the working room to guard the affected person against any contaminants from his/her saliva. It additionally protects the surgeon from inhaling or ingesting any fluids from the affected person.


Typical surgical masks

Professionals: By way of consolation, they’re fairly snug as a result of they hardly weigh something in any respect. They’re usually made from cotton and are cheap (about 80 cents every). Nice for delicate days when allergens could also be current, which is a really uncommon prevalence in China.


Discover how this man’s air pollution masks is just not fitted to his face

Cons: These masks don’t match properly in opposition to the face, even if you pinch the metallic band on the bridge of the nostril. They don’t create a seal to dam out air pollution and so they don’t have any filter, which is what contributes to their dismal filtering effectivity score of 57 (A score of 100% signifies an ideal seal the place nothing can get in or out). After I was in China I noticed lots of individuals sporting surgical masks and it made me sick to my abdomen to think about the false sense of safety they’d. Then once more, there have been others with no masks in any respect, which can be fairly scary to consider when you think about the current story of a Chinese language artist whose air pollution vacuum video went viral. He actually made a brick (sure, a brick) from the pollution he managed to gather by simply strolling around Beijing with an industrial vacuum.

General: Don’t do it. All you can be getting is a false sense of safety with a mask that you couldn’t regulate.

Disposable Masks


A gaggle of vacationers sporting 3M® masks

These are masks that you could put on a number of instances earlier than tossing. They had been developed with manufacturing facility and development employees in thoughts so they’re meant to create a superb seal across the face to cease any particles from getting into the nostril or mouth. A preferred mannequin is the 3M® 9332 with an exhalation valve to take away moisture from the face (see under).

3m pollution mask davidsbeenhere

Professionals: The value level is superb. A single mask will run you about $5.50, relying put on you purchase it. It additionally has a wonderful filtering effectivity of over 90%.


The 3M® masks have writing on the entrance and aren’t very engaging

Cons: If you wish to seem like you’re headed to a nuclear plant catastrophe or anthrax contaminated zone, then that is the masks for you! No, significantly they don’t seem to be very engaging and must be thrown away after 3-Four makes use of, or till they begin getting grayish, indicating they’re soiled. That’s as a result of you possibly can’t change the filter. Moreover, they aren’t going to remain put throughout train or outside actions like intensive sightseeing around Beijing.

General: This can be a good mask should you don’t plan on spending an excessive amount of time outdoor in a spot the place there’s vital air pollution.

Reusable Masks


My father sporting his Respro Cinqro masks with a particular HEPA filter

Reusable masks are those who permit you to change out the filter, which suggests when you’ve obtained a keeper, it’s yours to maintain. They usually are available in a wide range of prints and colors and are excellent for frequent vacationers like myself. Respro® is a model of reusable air pollution masks that has created greater than 15 fashions, every designed for a particular life-style in thoughts, whether or not it’s enjoying sports activities in freezing temperatures, or decreasing allergy symptoms in city locations.


Right here I’m admiring the view of the Forbidden Metropolis one notably smoggy afternoon

Professionals: Manufacturers like Respro® give you decisions so that you’re not simply caught with a white clinical-looking mask (though they have these fashions too). These masks usually come in numerous sizes so yow will discover the right match (that is the important thing!) After getting it, you possibly can simply change out the filters and preserve utilizing the identical masks. They’re made out of material and are machine cleanable, which is sweet if you wish to freshen it up within the washer. They’re additionally very best for biking or enjoying sports activities (or sightseeing around Beijing making an attempt to cram all the primary websites in like my father and I).

Cons: Reusable air pollution masks are the priciest of the three ($40 – $65) and filter refills are offered individually. For many fashions, filters have to be changed after 50-70 hours of use.


One other superior reusable masks that I extremely advocate is Cambridge Masks™, which is available in 15 designs and 5 colors. There are three filters within the Cambridge Masks materials: Main Filter, Three ply-microparticulate layer and the army grade layer. The Cambridge Masks’ ™ filtration system, incorporating particulate filtering layers and army grade carbon meets N99 normal of particulate filtration, offering almost 100% safety from particulate air pollution comparable to PM2.5 and PM0.3, plus safety from residual VOCs and different polluting gases, in addition to micro organism and viruses.

Professionals: Cambridge Masks makes sizes sufficiently small for youngsters, which is nice should you’re touring to China with children in tow. Very best for anybody touring to or residing in China, India or different nations with unhealthy air pollution. Additionally nice for allergy victims, asthmatics, or hobbyists who work the place there are fumes or air particles.

A few of Cambridge Masks’s vogue pleasant designs

Cons: The Cambridge Masks is the filter, so the size of time they’re appropriate for is determined by how polluted the atmosphere is if you use it. The masks must be changed after prolonged use to make sure correct filtration.

General: Reusable masks price extra, however, no less than you possibly can choose the “look” you need. The masks I used (Respro Metropolis Masks) has a charcoal filter that’s very best for “common” days in China. By this, I imply days with an API of “Good” to “Unhealthy” (0-200 API). I wore it in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an and by no means as soon as skilled an irritation or allergy assault. As a brand new dad, I’m so glad that there’s Cambridge Masks that makes sizes sufficiently small to suit children’s faces.

Selecting Air Air pollution Masks for China

So, how do you select the best masks?

All of it is determined by match, which is why I went with the Respro for my journey to China. I appreciated how the neoprene material stretched over my face to create a superb seal whereas nonetheless being snug, and that I may put on it with sunshades and not using a drawback. I additionally didn’t get any moisture buildup within the masks, which was considered one of my most important issues.


View of the Forbidden Metropolis from Jingshan Park

Risks of Air Air pollution


There are loads of individuals who go mask-free in China, which, after studying about air pollution, makes me cringe. In accordance with the World Financial institution, 16 of the world’s prime 20 cities with the worst air air pollution are in China. The primary supply of all this air pollution? Coal. China’s main supply of electrical energy comes from coal – about 6 million tons are burned day by day. Add automobile emissions and different sources and also you’ve obtained a lethal smog cocktail made up of cancer-causing gases and particles.

That is precisely why defending your lungs is necessary and why I wished to write down about my expertise in selecting air air pollution masks for China.


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