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Fri, Jan. 3rd, 2014, 05:38 pm
In Search of Cleaner Air (Mask Shopping)

My "Arrakis mask" lost a valve. I was cleaning the dust from the front, popped open a valve, and the clear piece inside went AWOL and for the life of me I cannot find it. I figured it would turn up somewhere at some point, after all, it's in the house (I think, unless it's been discarded by now), but I've since given up. So, now it's time for a new mask.

You can't just buy new valves for this one, because the mask was a) cheap, and b) generic. Figures. When I went to the site I bought it from, their crappy search engine couldn't even find it. Strangely, if I do a search (I use DuckDuckGo rather than Google) online, I can pull up the page I ordered it from and still get it...weird. I don't know why it doesn't come up internally on their search engine. Are they out of stock? In which case, why can I still pull up the page? I don't know whether or not I should attempt to order this item and just see what happens or not. Anyway, it's here.

http://www.allergyasthmatech.com/SP/Air_Pollution_Mask/101#

It's sort of a Respro copy. I found out that the two best masks, according to a Beijing blog (and, as AgentOrange says, if you don't wear a mask in Beijing, your face might just fall off), are Respro and Totobobo. The Totobobo mask actually works better, in field tests it worked at 96% (all HEPA masks usually function at 99%, otherwise they couldn't be rated as HEPA-standard), whereas the Respro only came to 88%, but Respro looks awesome...and let's face it, we're not in Beijing. I'm not going to die at the lower percentage.

http://totobobo.com/

The only problem with Respro is, it's a UK company and if I buy it directly from their site, the thing is going to cost me around $100. If I buy it from an indirect source, even with the chemical filter and valve replacement, it still only comes to about $60-something. Now comes the hard part. Suddenly, I can find it in my size but white, not blue (and a white mask isn't going to be very white for very long in my hands). I can find it in blue, but not in my size. I can find the wrong style mask, etc. etc.

My usual go-to source is no help at all. The company that sells through Amazon is apparently abysmal. They ship just about any old size they want and every comment complains about the fit they got. And then, of course, my standard design aesthetic got in the way. The allergy mask is the most practical, but their Techno mask has an awesome look to it, and was easier to find in American online cycling shops and from http://www.allergybegone.com/respro-techno-filter-mask.html.

Or, as AgtOrange says, maybe I should start with one and eventually get both. Then I'll have two colors, and can match them to my outfits!

P.S. While shopping for masks, I think I found what is going to be our next water pitcher, because the Seychelle is NOT performing to standards. It was supposed to filter out everything. The PUR had worked wonderfully for this (I demand my filters work for cryptosporidia/giardia as well as metals and other impurities) but it was incredibly slow. We have a strangely shaped faucet that we can't switch out because we rent, so the normal solution of having a hose-fed pitcher system was totally off the table.

The Seychelle worked quickly as promised...only it doesn't filter. If there is any water in the top when you pour, I have witnessed water pouring/leaking from both top and bottom due to a design flaw. But even when this isn't the case, I can TASTE things in the water at all times. The water tastes the same from my pitcher as it does from my tap, and the water is by no means tasty from my tap. I also believe I saw water slightly leaking around the seal of the filter when I first put it in. This stopped almost immediately, but it doesn't make me think highly of how well it's sealed either.

All I know is, if I can taste lots of stuff in the water, there is no way it is filter out "all bacteria, most chemicals, and most metals/sediments etc." I won't even drink the water out of my pitcher, and have gone back to bottled water until a new pitcher can be acquired.

Our new pitcher? http://www.aquasana.com/powered-water-filtration