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What is an N95 Respirator Mask?

Disposable respirators have recently received increased attention with the spread of the H1N1 influenza virus, although they have long been used for other purposes, including occupational safety. N95 refers to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) rating which establishes a mask that meets certain minimum standards for particulate transfer.

The N95 respirator is designed to filter up to 95% of airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger that can enter the user's nose and mouth directly. You can also buy a KN95 mask at

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These masks can also be worn by people suffering from infectious diseases to prevent particles from escaping from the user's nose and mouth and harming others. While these masks do not prevent particle transmission with 100% accuracy, they can effectively prevent the spread of infection.

N95 masks can be purchased with valveless ones for easier breathing. Optimal protection is achieved when the respirator fits snugly on the face and covers the nose and mouth without leaving exposed areas around the edges. 

Respirators are widely used for workplace safety and are especially widely used in industrial and health facilities. Masks used in the workplace must be NIOSH approved, which means they meet the minimum standards set by the National Institute for Safety and Health at Work.

When buying a respirator, you should pay attention to the intended use. Different types are designed for specific purposes and offer different levels of protection. Another consideration is whether the mask contains latex, an allergen to some people. Latex-free N95 respirators are available and will be labeled as such.