How to Get Your 3M Mask to Seal Tight

Hello! I’ve not been around this blog much due to having an awful winter where I lost tolerance to a lot of my safe foods (and as I’ve just discovered via testing with my Allergist and Immunologist, this was due to the mould, Pullaria). I’ve spent most of my time holding onto the furniture while feeling as if I am spinning uncontrollably out of control. Not fun.  Woodsmoke coupled with food reactions to the most benign foods (bananas, dates and even broccoli) have made my life miserable these last few months. However, now the weather’s cleared up, and we are so close to starting our build, I’m feeling much better… somewhat like my old self—only stronger, braver and excited to be back!

And, I’ve made a YouTube clip for you all:

This video is about How to Wear a 3M Filter Mask to protect your health from chemical irritants such as fragrance, solvents and petrochemicals used in perfumes and spray deodorants and ‘air-fresheners’. I talk about how to seal it and (somewhat) disguise it so that (some) people are less likely to tease you and pay out on you when you go out in a public space. Also, I speak about what happens when I go into a bank while wearing this over my face.

I seal the mask with the scarf because if I laugh, smile or move my face to much, fragrance and other chemical irritants get inside via the sides of the mask when it lifts off my face; so by using the scarf I can create a better seal. So far, I’ve managed to avoid having to use a heavy-duty, cumbersome silicone (or TPE or rubber) mask when I go into public spaces.

Another benefit of the scarf is it extends the life of the 3M carbon filter mask because the fabric of the scarf collects a layer of air-borne fragrance and chemical particles before the carbon saturates. I always air my scarves as soon as I can then wash them before using them.

(We all share the air! Please don’t wear fragrance when you go out into a shared public space. It’s the chemicals contained in the majority of these personal care products that impact on other people’s health; and, it’s the chemicals NOT the smell that’s the problem here.)

The mask is a 3M Nuisance mask and I bought mine from AESSRA http://aessra.org

If you are in Australia (or want to shop here), you can find a snood scarf just like the one I used in the video at Bhumi Organic Cotton. (this link has been updated.)

Do you have any tricks for getting a good seal on your mask that you’d like to share with us today?

More from Maskology

Do it Yourself: Air Filtering Mask

What it’s like to Wear a Mask 9.2 Years Later

A Masked Duality

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

How the Mask Can Hinder

Back before I had an ‘Access Plan’ (called a Disability Plan, in other countries perhaps? Oh wait, is it only Victoria University (VU) who’re up to speed on this?) created for me by VU In 2012, I began to get sicker; I thought that was as sick as I could get. I didn’t know that it can much worse than that. When I had to wear a mask to school, and found even that didn’t help with the fragrance in the class, I became frustrated and wrote this to my Disability Liaison Officer (DLO):

“If it’s [the classroom] not a fragrance chemical free, aromatic solvent (aerosol) free area, then it is only fair if the students or teachers tell me, so that I can leave and not get affected. It’s not the smell; it’s the chemicals in the products, specifically hydrocarbons, solvents and fragrances that affect me. It’s not fair that I have to wear a mask to protect myself from products that the other students are wearing, especially when the mask actually stops me from being able to tell if there are sprays in the air, therefore making it impossible to protect myself by taking avoidance action! The only way to tell is to remove the mask, breathe the air, and see if I can smell it, sometimes I can, but other times I can’t because ‘smell’ is something a person acclimatises to; however, once I get symptoms, then I can tell. (Wearing the mask is akin to putting my head in the sand as far as knowing what is in the room.)

Also the mask hinders me in that, when I move to the left of the right, open my mouth to speak, laugh, cough, or yawn, the products enter, and are held in that small airspace where I breathe them in. And I can taste them.

I would be better off just leaving if there are sprays in the room, rather than staying until I get sick. Ideally, the teacher could tell me so I have the choice. I appreciate it when someone warns me that it is there, because that saves me from having to breath it in to find out. (This year, 2012, many times I’ve come to class, keeping my mask tight to my face, so that I can stay as long as I can before getting sick—I know I will get sick and have to leave anyway as that has been the pattern this year—but on a few occasions there has been a high concentration of aromatic solvents in the room, which have made me extremely ill once I have left, removed my mask and gone home. I know they were actually in the room because the next day, the clothes that I wore reek of them. (I shower and wash my hair as soon as I get home but many times I haven’t been able to do this quick enough; and sometimes it’s impossible to leave my mask on until I can get home to shower because I need to remove it to drink, eat, and even more importantly, breathe fresh air once leaving the building, or on a break. If I do this, I get sick.

On these occasions, if I knew there were fragrances, deodorants in the room, I’d leave my mask on until I could get in the shower at home.)) In the true sense of being disabled, having this contradictive action: having to smell the air to find out if something is there, and then getting sick from breathing it in, is something I wish someone else could do for me.”

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I didn’t get a Teacher’s Assistant to sniff the air for me to see if class was safe for me; however, I did get something better than that….

More

Next I’ll be blogging about how I got to be in a Fragrance Free classroom.

And parts of My Access Plan

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Masked Life Q&A: Relationships, Communication, and, How Does it Sound?

I’m sending this post out for all my MCS brothers and sisters who are strong enough to wear their respirator masks out in public so as to protect their health. Today, TashaLee from Fruitful Healthy Living will share with us what it’s like to communicate while wearing a respirator mask, and how it sounds. (I have a hard enough time wearing the 3M type of mask, and I’ve only ever worn my Sundstrom respirator in traffic and bushfire smoke, but, in the interest of protecting my health, I won’t rule out using it for avoiding exposures to the chemical irritants to which I’m sensitive to.

The topic of communication is an interesting one for me because I once considered wearing the respirator mask to classes. Luckily, it never came to that. But I would never rule out wearing it out in public because I refuse to be denied access to goods and services (I just send someone else to the shops, yeah?) because other people are wearing personal care products containing solvents, petrochemicals and fragrances into shared public spaces. It’s a disability recognised by the Disability Act and Human Rights but also a disability that’s often not recognised by people offering goods and services. If it was, most of us wouldn’t need to wear a friggen mask to go to these places!)

TashaLee can be found sometimes sleeping in hers, due to having to avoid breathing in toxic VOCs from mould spores in her and her husband’s living space. But she’ll also wear it into shops, too. I think she (and all of us who tough it out) deserves a medal for bravery and tenacity. Today, TashaLee gets two: one for bravery and another for sharing information to help make our lives better.

More from TashaLee:

Answers to questions about life in a mask: how I sound, how to seal it, how it affects [relationships]

Thank you for sharing TashaLee!

More

TashaLee’s site: Fruitful Healthy Living

TashaLee’s Diabetic Site: Fruitarian Diabetic

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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