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The Future of Respiratory Protection

As the disposable respirator market and demand has grown so quickly, with it so has the amount of waste sent to landfill. Every industry that relied on respiratory protection before the pandemic and since now has a social responsibility to do better and make more sustainable choices.  The bonus?  Moving away from disposable respirators will not only lessen your environmental impact but shifting to reusable respirators will prove a huge cost savings.
The Future of Respiratory Protection

Respirators aren’t going anywhere

The global disposable respirator marketing size was USD 6.31 billion in 2020 and experienced an uptick of 223.9% due to the pandemic.   The demand for N95 respirators has grown due to the pandemic specifically in healthcare and food and beverage industry for maintaining hygiene and safety standards.  According to Fortune Business Insights (1) the disposable respirator market top industries include transportation, energy, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and others

Respirators are crucial PPE that have always been important to protect workers in industries such as construction and manufacturing or any industry that involves the risk of inhaling harmful particles which can cause serious lifetime damage such as dust particles, lead dust, silica, asbestos, etc. The pandemic has only heightened the demand for N95 level (or better) protection and made it a household term. But according to experts (2), the virus is not going away, nor will the need for respirators.

Even with mask mandates lifting throughout most of Canada and the US, the need for effective respiratory protection will remain.  Because the US and Canada have stringent workplace safety standards which requires companies to provide appropriate respirator protection equipment to employees where necessary, they have will continue to hold the dominate share of the disposable respirator market over 2021-2028 (USD 2.10 billion) (1).

Respitory protection equipment

Domestic Manufacturing: We can’t continue to rely on China

As one of the world’s largest manufacturing sectors, China houses the greatest volume of PPE and the majority of which being googles, medical masks and disposable respirators.  Like in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, China’s lockdowns will once again wreak havoc on inflation and the supply chain.

According to a recent article China lockdowns: A nightmare for supply chains and inflation | Fortune:

Fuel demand in China is on track to drop 20% this month in the biggest decline since the first wave of lockdowns more than two years ago, sources told Bloomberg on Friday. And global supply chains are beginning to feel the crunch as well. One in five container ships is now stuck at ports worldwide, with 30% of the backlog coming from China.

“Companies are beginning to panic. The downstream impact is coming, and it’ll be heavy.” John Bree, the chief risk officer at Supply Wisdom, said. “The latest China lockdowns combined with the Russia-Ukraine war is too heavy a burden. The global chaos is going to further exacerbate disruption and take inflation to a new level.”

The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that we can longer rely on critical supplies to be sourced and manufactured overseas.  In the State of the Union address, President Biden vowed that everything from the deck of an aircraft carrier to the steel on highway guardrails would be made in America. “The plight of these small mask companies, however, suggests that reviving American manufacturing — even when the underlying rationale is national security — won’t be easy” (2)

“When we use taxpayer dollars to rebuild America, we’re going to do it by buying American”

President Joe Biden

Most recently, approximately 100 independent medical and health experts, advising the White House on how to deal with the pandemic, included Dr. Osterholm, an infectious disease specialist who informed the Biden administration, “there is no doubt that the lack of the more-protective face masks contributed to those grim totals”, issued their own pandemic preparedness plan. Group leader, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, has estimated that it will cost $100 billion or more to fully prepare ‘the nation for future variants and pandemics moving forward. The PPE section that starts on page 57, chapter 5 highlights the experts as follows:

  • The supply chain of respirator manufacturing must be considered a national and economic security priority. Where necessary, domestic manufacturing capacity for respirators must be assured to safeguard sufficient supply for healthcare and other high-risk settings, with capacity to ramp up production during respiratory emergencies such as another pandemic or surge.
  • The national stockpile should be replenished with elastomeric and powered air purifying respirators for healthcare workers, which must be deployed immediately as future surges or pandemics occur.
  • Healthcare workers with direct patient care responsibilities should top the priority list for personal protective equipment. They must be provided reusable respirators such as elastomeric half-mask respirators for the remainder of the pandemic.
  • Workers in higher-risk settings need access to reusable respirators such as EMS, food processing, assembly lines, grocers, and warehousing, followed by workers in moderate-risk settings including restaurants, retail, and transportation.

Organizations like AMMA (American Masks Manufacturing Association) are on a mission to help bring domestic mask manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and to ensure America is ready for whatever the future has in store.  As a NIOSH Approved Respiratory Manufacturer based in Lenexa Kansas, with a 100% North American based supply chain for our Half Masks, Cartridges and Filters, Dentec Safety proudly joined AMMA in 2021.  As the only elastomeric reusable respirator manufacturer AMMA member, Executive Director Nicolas Smit has been a huge advocate for the need for superior American Made respiratory protection for both the Canadian and American markets.

“The supply chain problems are very concerning because there are so many downstream effects that can be easily avoided. If workers are given masks with reliable protection against infection, problems along the supply chain would be minimal and the economy could start to repair itself. Anyone looking for respiratory protection from air pollution including wildfire smoke, needs to be protected from carcinogenic airborne particulates, doing home renovations where you could be exposed to dangerous airborne particulates would be great for people to use elastomeric respirators. The mining, construction, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries could also greatly benefit from using elastomeric respirators.”

Nicolas Smit- Executive Director of the American Mask Manufacturing Association

Reusable Respirators: Less waste, less cost

Reusable respirators

As the disposable respirator market and demand has grown so quickly, with it so has the amount of waste sent to landfill.  The rapid need for disposable respirators for healthcare workers as well as many other industries mentioned above has led to a huge uptick in the environmental toll that medical and disposable mask waste is costing us. The pandemic is estimated to have generated 7,200 tons of medical waste daily, most of which are disposable masks.  Disposable N95 waste alone will generate 6,700 lbs/ 1000 people a year (3).

Every industry that relied on respiratory protection before the pandemic and since now has a social responsibility to do better and make more sustainable choices.  The bonus?  Moving away from disposable respirators will not only lessen your environmental impact but shifting to reusable respirators will prove a huge cost savings. Every industry that relied on respiratory protection before the pandemic and since now has a social responsibility to do better and make more sustainable choices.  The bonus?  Moving away from disposable respirators will not only lessen your environmental impact but shifting to reusable respirators will prove a huge cost savings.

People wearing reusable respirators

Every industry that relied on respiratory protection before the pandemic and since now has a social responsibility to do better and make more sustainable choices.  The bonus?  Moving away from disposable respirators will not only lessen your environmental impact but shifting to reusable respirators will prove a huge cost savings.

Elastomeric respirators are nothing new, the Dentec Safety Comfort-Air® brand of respirators has been in the market for some 30 years.

Here’s what you need to know about Dentec’s Comfort-Air®reusable elastomeric respirators:

Comfort-air reusable elastomeric respirators
Comfort-Air® Respirators
  • Provide greater user comfort than any disposable respirator. Lower breathing resistance and less heat build up inside the mask ensures greater comfort and productivity.
  • Superior Protection: Reusable half masks can be fit checked each time you don the mask and go to work. It is very difficult to conduct a negative or positive pressure seal check with disposable respirators. Our products ensure your employees are protected each and every time they put on their respirator. Critically important for those dealing with OSHA’s new silica dust standard and protection against various types of air-borne viruses.
  • BETTER FIT FOR ALL FACES NIOSH sizing protocols drastically underrepresent women and Asian face shapes and sizes for FFR’s. Dentec’s reusable Respirator are available in multiple sizes to provide a better fit/ seal qualities for all face shapes and sizes.
  • Believe it or not – using our reusable N95 respirator solution can deliver savings because of our unique filter holder and cover. This allows the user to mount our N95 filter to any of our half or full-face masks. The filter cover protects the N95 filter pad increasing the usable life span of the filter.
  • AMERICAN MADE 100% of our materials are manufactured in the Unites States. We manufacture and assembly our half masks, filters and cartridges in our plant in Kansas.
  • REDUCED WASTE AND LANDFILL COSTS Dentec’s reusable respirators will reduce landfill waste by millions of pounds annually, reduce incineration costs for mask disposable and help reduce carbon emissions.

Based on 2020 stats, if all Canadian healthcare workers were issued 1 Comfort-Air®NxMD reusable respirator, in a 90-day period there would be a costs savings of $97,713,000 and a total of 1,247,990 LBs of mask waste diverted from landfill.

 

Find out how much money your company could be saving by ditching disposables and switching to elastomeric respirators with our NEW:

Comfort-Air®Nx Waste & Cost Savings Calculator.

 

The future of respiratory protection is here, and Dentec Safety is ready to protect North American frontline workers AND our economy with our safer, more sustainable CANADIAN OWNED, AMERICAN MADE solution


Sources:

  1. Disposable Respirator Market Size, Share | Global Report [2028] (fortunebusinessinsights.com)
  2. Why American Mask Makers Are Going Out of Business – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
  3. The environmental toll of disposable masks | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dentec Safety Specialists Inc, a leading manufacturer and distributor of safety products in North America, was awarded Gold for the Comfort-AirNx reusable elastomeric N95 respirator by the Occupational Health & Safety Industrial Hygiene Awards, and Vendor of the Year by INDICA Marketing Group. Contracted by the US Government, Dentec Safety received a multimillion-dollar PPE grant as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, a $2 trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill provided by the US Federal Government), and a contract for 125,000 respirators with 500,000 replacement filters for distribution to US healthcare.  Dentec Safety has shipped to Cook Islands, Australia, Italy, England, New Zealand, Canada wide and the USA. 

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