Home

With the general media hype around toxic air, not to mention the lung-full I get sat at the lights on my commute through London I'm exploring which option to go for.

Can anyone share any preferences? Previous experiences with them? General positives / negatives?

Ta,
Jack

22 comments

Avatar
Welsh boy [575 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

First of all find out what you are trying to protect yourself from eg NOx, pm2.5 etc.  Then read the manufacturers specification for each mask and make sure that it can filter out exactly what it is you are trying to keep out of your body.  When you are satisfied that a mask can protect you from whatever it is you are concerned about, see if that mask fits you comfortaly, if it does, buy it.

However, dont be taken i by marketing bulshit, make sure you fully understand what you are trying to keep out of your lungs.  If it is NOx, SOx, O3 etc, then I dont think that a filter mask will do you any good, try looking for a Hazmat suit instead.

I am glad that you acknowledge that a lot of the exposure is "publicity hype" so please do your own research and dont rely on articles from sources whose sole purpose is to make money.

Avatar
Spangly Shiny [226 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes

One of these should suffice:

 

Avatar
ktache [1016 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

I got me a Respro City reflect just after the Buncefield fire, had to cycle to the train station hard, that night after, the smoke had dropped and I could not breathe.  Chipped the next day off, got the mask on my way into work the next day.  It was very hot and sweaty and I couldn't drink or spit, it also rubbed my nose raw and it makes breathing difficult.

Upgraded to the techno filter and valves at some point, and on hearing Carol the weather woman tell us it was a big polluting day, I wore it to work.  Still had all of the bad things.  Haven't used it since.  Probably does't work with facial hair, as I know that PPE masks at work don't.  If I was proper filthy city cycling I might go and find it and occasionally shave, but I doubt it.

Avatar
Nat Jas Moe [183 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

Being asthamatic I find that these masks agrivate my asthama, which may be counter intuative but there you are. I agree with Welshboy, most filters will not filter out the particulants that people say we need to avoid as these particles are just too small, and as far as gases as concerned well the're gases so again will pass through most filters. 

My advice is to make sure your well away from buses, lorries and black cabs, as I have observed that these often belch black smoke, particulantes. 

Avatar
ConcordeCX [930 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes

There's an interesting article here about cycling and pollution exposure:

https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/fuming-air-pollution-and-cycling

Way back in the early 90s I bought a Respro mask for my commute, but stopped using it after a few days because it was so unpleasant and uncomfortable, and because at about that time something was published which suggested that even without a mask you were still better off cycling than being in a car, bus or tube.

Ban polluting vehicles is the real answer, but that may take some time.

 

Avatar
Canyon48 [1113 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes

As far as I know, none of the commercially available masks actually filter out the dangerous particles from exhausts that will do damage to you - they only filter out the larger dust particles.

To filter the nasty pollutants from exhaust fumes, you'll need a proper chemical mask - which isn't very practical.

Unfortunately, you (we) are exposed to harmful pollutants even whilst we're sat in our homes (if you live by a road), or whilst sat in a car in traffic... 

Avatar
foreignfruit@ [3 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Thanks all, very helpful. Albeit disheartening to hear that none of the masks on the market are actually very effective. My frame of mind is that surely using one is better than not using it but the comfort problem I can completely see

Avatar
foreignfruit@ [3 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Thanks all, very helpful. Albeit disheartening to hear that none of the masks on the market are actually very effective. My frame of mind is that surely using one is better than not using it but the comfort problem I can completely see

Avatar
madcarew [899 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes

"surely using one is better than not using it"....

If it is ineffective in filtering out what you want to filter out, the only thing it is achieving is to make cycling less attractive and more uncomfortable, and make cycling appear more risky than it is. All these things are likely to combine to make you  and others less likely to cycle .... which has a proven negative effect on your health; and one less cyclist on the road, ironically, makes cycling more dangerous for the rest of us. I'm not about to make a broad, sweeping statement like "all the studies show...", but the consensus from well conducted studies are that you are indeed more at (lifetime health) risk from toxic gases while sat in your car than whilst cycling or pedestrianing, so although it may not seem like it, you are probably better not using it than using it if it isn't shown to filter out the 'toxic' substances. 

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet [2363 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

Considering you need something half decent and SAS looking to filter out MDF dust , I'd guess you're wasting your time with realistic pollution filters for cycling in any sort of comfort.

Avatar
Duncann [1442 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Perhaps you could also consider changing your route to avoid the most polluted parts? 

My understanding is that vehicle pollutants, particularly particulates, is quite localised, so switching from a major arterial route to a backstreet alternative a block away could make more difference that a mask.

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... [192 posts] 6 days ago
2 likes

Just make sure you don't wear it anywhere near a school!  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6458101/Row-cyclist-police-offi...

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2764 posts] 6 days ago
2 likes
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

Just make sure you don't wear it anywhere near a school!  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6458101/Row-cyclist-police-offi...

That policeman should be ashamed of himself for that.

Unfortunately, I read some of the comments, so I'm just going to bleach my eyes.

Avatar
brooksby [3828 posts] 6 days ago
2 likes
madcarew wrote:

If it is ineffective in filtering out what you want to filter out, the only thing it is achieving is to make cycling less attractive and more uncomfortable, and make cycling appear more risky than it is. All these things are likely to combine to make you  and others less likely to cycle .... 

Hey, wow, you mean like wearing a helmet? yes  (ducks for cover...)

(Sorry, people, just couldn't resist it: please don't pick this up and run with it).

Avatar
brooksby [3828 posts] 6 days ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

Just make sure you don't wear it anywhere near a school!  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6458101/Row-cyclist-police-offi...

That policeman should be ashamed of himself for that.

Unfortunately, I read some of the comments, so I'm just going to bleach my eyes.

What was the cyclist actually wearing, in that story?  Was it a pollution filter mask or a balaclava?  No story seems to discuss that, just that he was 'wearing a mask'...

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2764 posts] 6 days ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

Just make sure you don't wear it anywhere near a school!  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6458101/Row-cyclist-police-offi...

That policeman should be ashamed of himself for that.

Unfortunately, I read some of the comments, so I'm just going to bleach my eyes.

What was the cyclist actually wearing, in that story?  Was it a pollution filter mask or a balaclava?  No story seems to discuss that, just that he was 'wearing a mask'...

I'd assumed that it was a pollution mask, but it's irrelevant anyway unless the cop was from the fashion police (he didn't look to be that fabulous, though).

If kids are scared of a bloke on a bike wearing a facemask, then they should be taught why someone may want to wear a mask (e.g. it's cold; there's too much pollution) and to not be afraid.

What would happen if someone with facial disfigurations (e.g. burns) was waiting to pick up their kid? Would they get banned for scaring the children too?

Avatar
ClubSmed [746 posts] 6 days ago
0 likes

I am with the cyclist on this one, but on writing my reply I hesitated.

I was going to write, "I would rather parents picked up their children like this rather than them all doing it in their pollution machines"

Then I thought about the scene if this nirvana should come to pass. I may not find a few cyclists in neck tubes (or whatever type of face covering it was) intimidating, but 300 of them and I could understand people being scared.

I know this state of play is not likely to happen, it just made me think.

Avatar
brooksby [3828 posts] 6 days ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'd assumed that it was a pollution mask, but it's irrelevant anyway unless the cop was from the fashion police (he didn't look to be that fabulous, though).

If kids are scared of a bloke on a bike wearing a facemask, then they should be taught why someone may want to wear a mask (e.g. it's cold; there's too much pollution) and to not be afraid.

What would happen if someone with facial disfigurations (e.g. burns) was waiting to pick up their kid? Would they get banned for scaring the children too?

No - clearly the headteacher would call the police and force them to put a mask on.

(Because no child should ever have to encounter anything "different", should they?)

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... [192 posts] 6 days ago
1 like
ClubSmed wrote:

I am with the cyclist on this one, but on writing my reply I hesitated.

I was going to write, "I would rather parents picked up their children like this rather than them all doing it in their pollution machines"

Then I thought about the scene if this nirvana should come to pass. I may not find a few cyclists in neck tubes (or whatever type of face covering it was) intimidating, but 300 of them and I could understand people being scared.

I know this state of play is not likely to happen, it just made me think.

It would be easy to dismiss the comments on that article as 'the usual Daily Mail fascists', but remember that the editor, the people who read this rag and its associated website in effect run the UK.  There are probably 1000 Daily Mail readers who have more power than probably fifty million of the rest of us.   

Avatar
madcarew [899 posts] 5 days ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
madcarew wrote:

If it is ineffective in filtering out what you want to filter out, the only thing it is achieving is to make cycling less attractive and more uncomfortable, and make cycling appear more risky than it is. All these things are likely to combine to make you  and others less likely to cycle .... 

Hey, wow, you mean like wearing a helmet? yes  (ducks for cover...)

(Sorry, people, just couldn't resist it: please don't pick this up and run with it).

I absolutely agree with you, hence I'm opposed to mandatory helmet wear.

Oh Damn

Wasn't supposed to run with it

Soz

My bad

ooops

Avatar
ConcordeCX [930 posts] 5 days ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

Just make sure you don't wear it anywhere near a school!  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6458101/Row-cyclist-police-offi...

That policeman should be ashamed of himself for that.

Unfortunately, I read some of the comments, so I'm just going to bleach my eyes.

What was the cyclist actually wearing, in that story?  Was it a pollution filter mask or a balaclava?  No story seems to discuss that, just that he was 'wearing a mask'...

 

 

Avatar
CygnusX1 [1075 posts] 5 days ago
0 likes

Can you imagine that same scene with the policeman but with the word "mask" replaced with "niqab"?

Unfortunately, I can, and I suspect the DM comments would be filled with even more hate filled invective.