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InquilineKea

Avoiding air pollution - do you think it's reasonable to just wear N99 masks everywhere now?

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Like, thomas talhem has an amazing blog (and quora answers) on this - there is really no minimum safe dose of pollution, and you can see pollution spikes in even small amounts next to the road (as cars braking causes road dust to go into the air). The plume air quality sensor is great but it still doesn't capture ultrafines, which seem abundant near airports. Coronavirus kind of makes me glad that wearing masks everywhere will probably be forever-destigmatized/un-weird.

and american cities generally have air pollution levels below the WHO-I limits, but even then, they often have localized spikes.

Edited by InquilineKea

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It depends whether your lungs are all right with that. AFAIK, the only disadvantage of higher protection masks is that you must exhert more effort to breathe, since there is a greater pressure drop (more suction required) caused by the filtering material. Probably, not ideal for running. Risk of emphysema? I don't know, but surely not advised to those who already have some breathing problems. 

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Yeah, I don't like wearing them continually that much b/c of the increased resistance, but air pollution is so horrible for you it's worth the risk.

Exerting more effort to breathe might in fact be good for your lungs..

Edited by InquilineKea

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Humans did evolve around fires, breathing in some amounts of smoke on a regular basis. There are likely some hormetic benefits from low-level pollution. At what level of exposure you surpass the hormetic bell curve, is to be determined.

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My thought:  Full vaccination against Covid-19 is of course number one.

Concerning all infectious diseases:  avoiding breathing what other people breathe out.  I've been doing that for decades, while not avoiding other people's company.  Mt reasoning:  The most dangerous creature to a human is another human.

Careful behavior works, without wearing masks and staying far away from others (although the latter has its pluses), I think is the way to go -- rather than rules that a subhuman is capable of following.

  --  Saul

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Of course, I'm fortunate to live in an area with very minimal air pollution (Rochester, NY), unlike NYC, LA and Beijing

  --  saul.

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Commented on this topic years ago ... I think in a post regarding outdoor exercising and biking in urban areas. 

I've been using Respro pollution masks for  over 12 years, mostly for biking certain routes. Made a big difference years ago when local LA air was still polluted in spots [autos/regulations  have gotten cleaner since]. The mask does restrict breathing for heavier workouts -- not recommended.

The Respro mask has a filter that is purpose-built  for air pollution -- so it is different from N95 or medical masks. Also, the pollution mask has a check valve so you vent lung air out unfiltered, unimpeded. 

I don't like wearing masks -- esp. b/c of the restricted breathing issue ... gasping for air on, say, uphill grades is not fun. 

So ... best to  avoid polluted areas ... say, use back streets and limit to times when auto traffic runs light. 

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