Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there have been countless stories of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) shortages.
Healthcare workers along with millions of other employees who need this protection for their everyday safety have been forced to come up with other solutions or go without the equipment they needed to stay safe on the job. Especially concerning is the fact that tens of thousands of Healthcare workers were needlessly exposed to COVID-19 due to lack of proper safety and PPE products like gloves, gowns and Respiratory Masks.
Fortunately, there is a solution that not only supports domestic manufacturing but can increase worker comfort and safety while reducing environmental impact AND save your organization money.
Sound too good to be true? Here are the top 5 Reasons to Ditch your Disposable N95 and upgrade to a Reusable Half Mask Elastomeric Respirator (EHMR).
1) Reduce Your Environmental Impact
Disposable Respirators generate an enormous amount of waste which ends up in landfill or worse. In 2021 it is typical to find discarded masks laying in parking lots, at the side of the road, littering our parks. Even worse, when masks are not disposed of properly, they end up in our water ways threatening sea animals and polluting streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.
Elastomeric respirators are a sustainable solution and are designed to be cleaned, decontaminated and reused. Because of this feature, one elastomeric can do the work of hundreds, if not thousands, of disposable N95 masks . Many hospitals and healthcare facilities have already converted to Elastomeric Half Mask Respirators Programs. Allegheny Health Network as an example, found that within one month, it was able to decrease the number of N95 masks it needed by 95 percent .
2) Enhanced Comfort and Wearability
Not only are Elastomeric Half Mask Respirators more comfortable than disposable Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFR’s) they also provide a better seal and thus enhanced safety when protecting against a variety of airborne contaminants. Disposable respirators are tough on healthcare workers who need to wear PPE for extended periods of time and notoriously wear down your skin causing face rash.
More than one-third of frontline health care workers reported adverse skin reactions after wearing N95 masks daily for several months, according to an article referenced in the May 2020 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Elastomeric Half Mask Respirators are softer and more supple on the skin greatly reducing the incidence of skin irritation and rash.
3) Less Storage Space/Longer Shelf Life, Easier To Stockpile
Stocking up on reusable respirators to supplement your N95 stockpile is also a good idea for any emergency response preparedness plan, as elastomeric respirators offer flexibility for use in other national emergencies ranging from natural disasters to national security threats or other novel public health emergencies.
Filter interchangeability is also an advantage as you can fit your respirator with a filter appropriate to a wide array of hazards .w Furthermore,many elastomeric respirators have a longer shelf life versus disposable FFR’s. This was evidenced at the start of the pandemic when National Stockpiles were found to be equipped with product beyond its best used by date and in many instances not fit to be worn to protect our frontline workers.
Dentec Comfort Air NX and NxMD masks are proven to have excellent stockpiling capabilities. With a shelf life of 10 years for the Half Mask and a 5 Year Shelf Life on replacement filters, this easily outperforms most of its FFR peers who typically have a 3 year best used by life expectancy.
4) Better Fit and Seal
Elastomeric Half Mask Respirators provide an enhanced seal to the wearers face with many models providing the ability to adjust their suspensions. This is in stark contrast to disposable respirators which often-times only have two elastic bands that go around the head. These elastic bands do not allow for adjustment to mitigate excessive pressure on your face/skin. Also, most FFR’s are only available in one size. If you are a smaller or bigger person, you may not be able to achieve a proper fit due to the sizing limitations and lack of suspension adjustment.
This can have dire consequences when performing such tasks as occupational CPR. Recently the Journal of American Medical Association published a study showing a fit failure rate of 28% when using disposable N95s for occupational CPR while elastomeric respirators always kept the person wearing it protected the entire time CPR was being performed .
5) Cost Savings
An EHMR program can have big cost savings particularly over the long-term. A recent study found that a network reduced the number of N95s needed by 95 percent. By implementing an elastomeric mask program, costing the network 10 TIMES LESS per month than purchasing disposable N95’s ,.
Not only that, but since the start of the pandemic, costs of disposable FFR’s have risen substantially due to raw material supply issues around the globe. These increased costs have the potential to strain budgets and unfortunately it does not look promising for the pricing to return to pre-pandemic levels for quite some time.
If you’d like further information on how to effectively implement an Elastomeric Half Mask Respirator program at your facility, please visit the Dentec Safety website at www.dentecsafety.com or Email email@example.com.
 Hamby, C. “They Evoke Darth Vader, but These Masks May Save Your Doctor’s Life.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/27/us/coronavirus-masks-elastomeric- respirators.html.
 Chalikonda S, Waltenbaugh H, Angelilli S, Dumont T, Kvasager C, Sauber T, Servello N, Singh A, Diaz-Garcia R. “Implementation of an Elastomeric Mask Program as a Strategy to Eliminate Disposable N95 Mask Use and Resterilization: Results from a Large Academic Medical Center.” Journal of the American College of Surgeons (2020).
 https://www.journalacs.org/article/S1072-7515(20)30471-3/pdf) https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2777504?utm_source=twitter &utm_campaign=content- shareicons&utm_content=article_engagement&utm_medium=social&utm_term=031821#.YFJn EbgpaVg.twitter
 https://files.asprtracie.hhs.gov/documents/elastomeric-half-mask-respirators-and-powered- air-purifying-respirators-in-healthcare-and-ems-settings-fact-sheet.pdf
 https://www.govtech.com/em/preparedness/Cost-effective-protection-with-Half-Mask- Respirators.html