A clunky mask can be the answer to airborne diseases and N95 waste

“Elastomerics was really a game changer for us,” says Dr. Chalikonda. “When I think of all the millions of dollars lost on the N95s and then try to reuse them, you realize how much elastomeric is a missed opportunity.”

Federal health officials say they are moving as fast as possible to create strong guidelines about elastomeric. Marianne D’Alesandro, director of the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, said scientists were reviewing the response from a study that distributed nearly 100,000 respirators to hospitals, nursing homes and first responders across the country. “If we can get together a tool kit to work as a guide for companies and to educate users, we hope it will help remove the needle,” he said.

Many masked entrepreneurs are unlikely to last that long. Max Buck-Arnson, co-founder of Breathe99, which makes an elastomeric respirator that Time Magazine included in its list of the best discoveries of 2020, is shutting down work at the company’s Minnesota plant.

He blamed sales fatigue for cove fatigue and a decline in public interest in defensive gear. He added that the company’s fortunes were initially ruined by the CDC’s mask guidelines, which persuaded Amazon, Google and Facebook to limit or prevent the sale of medical-grade masks to consumers, even as PPE imports began to flood the United States again.

“The whole industry has been destroyed,” said Mr Buck-Arnson. “Every time a new variant comes along, we get a small push in sales, but I haven’t taken a nickel out of the company since last May,” he said.

For now, he is concentrating on finding a buyer for his company while selling his inventory online. The mask costs $ 59 and can be printed on a washable cover that comes in eight colors, including red, linen and royal blue.

All sales, the website apologizes for, are final.

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