The BBC recently interviewed four individuals living in Beijing after the Chinese capital was hit by a rather unusual dust storm coupled with smog shrouds early in the month with the air quality index (AQI) almost doubling the hazardous (500) level at 896 with a cocktail of pollutants from pollen, PM2.5 and PM10 particulates at 136, 518 and 1,000 respectively, according to the Air Matters app in the video.
From the BBC interview, we can see that only one out of four individuals was properly protected against airborne pollutants. 

The right way to wear your mask.
The first woman interviewed in the minute-long BBC video appeared to be the only one who seems to have worn her 3M 9001V correctly - noticed how she never once complained about her health? She instead commented about the colour of the skies and the inconvenience the pollution brings.

..and the many wrong ways to wear your mask.
 
 
The second person to be interviewed was a man sporting an upside down 3M valved mask complaining of a sore throat and feeling terrible - this is quite obvious as even the best mask would not protect you if you do not wear it properly.
The third person interviewed, a young woman also complained of a sore throat and dry nose - all she had on was a disposable paper face mask commonly used during food preparation to prevent saliva from getting on the food.

..or not at all. 
Finally, the fourth and last interviewee decides to go Rambo with no form of protection whatsoever claiming that the poor air quality doesn't bother him one bit.

Well, that's a chirpy attitude to an otherwise gloomy backdrop and while keeping one's spirits up during the many adversities that life throws at you is a good thing, we still feel it should be paired with some form of active protection.

A third-party source in China cited that the 3M 9001V is the most cost-effective and common valved mask capable of filtering particulates down to PM2.5. It's also quite similar to the 3M 9010V in the CT Hardware Safety First Safety Kitwith an exception that the 9010V loops around the wearer's head, offering a better seal while the 9001V only loops around the ears.

Ultimately, every person's face is different hence even the best mask in the world would do you no good if it doesn't fit you.

Seemingly harmless irritants?

We recommend that you wear a respiratory mask anytime there's airborne pollutants where you work. Even something seemingly as harmless as sawdust (from treated wood) can create airborne particulates which apart from irritating the eyes, nose and throat has also been cited as a source of carcinogens by the OSHA. While silicosis, otherwise known as grinder's asthma, is caused by inhalation of the fine crystalline silica dust when you're drilling or cutting masonry, concrete or marble.

CT Hardware Toptip: Position the mask over your face with the metal clip facing up. The soft aluminium band should go over and molded around the bridge of your nose for a proper fit. Adjust and ensure that the mask covers and fit your face properly. The mask can't seal properly if you have facial hair - shave it off! 

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