As the public continues its mask habit amidst the global coronavirus crisis, people are perhaps all too familiar with the struggles of wearing uncomfortable and potentially ineffective face masks. People are also increasingly understanding the need to protect themselves against polluted air. Enter O2 Canada, an Ontario-based creator of what’s considered the world’s finest anti-pollution masks.

Created with the mission to help everybody on the planet breathe clean air, O2 Canada was founded in 2014 as a Class 1 Medical Device company, with extensive research on dust and disposable masks conducted at the University of Waterloo’s Air Pollution Research and Innovation Laboratory (now known as the Green Energy and Pollution Control Research Lab).

One of the most common complaints when it comes to improper mask wearing is its propensity for air leakage around the sides of the mask and face, which exposes the wearer to outside pollutants — from road dust to air pollution, mold spores to pollen, as well as bacteria.

This led O2 Canada to develop its proprietary medical silicone seal for its singular product, the O2 Curve Mask, which effectively filters out PM2.5 particles, even for particulate matter as small as 0.1 microns.

What is the O2 Curve Mask?

While most anti-pollution and dust masks adopt a fabric-based material, the O2 Curve Mask is designed around a highly durable protective shell and Japanese medical-grade silicone seal. Ergonomically shaped, the mask itself is even facial hair compatible, ensuring a snug fit around your nose and mouth even while you smile and talk — and won’t fog up your glasses.

With microfibre padded ear loops and an adjustable strap, each O2 mask is made to be comfortable for wearers of any age and size. Compared to industrial-strength N95 masks, O2 masks have been shown to provide more successful protection against airborne particles while also being easier to breathe in, thanks to the gill-like openings on the side of the mask that stay securely sealed when you inhale, and open only when you exhale.

They also suit wearers who no doubt are tired of the staid pollution masks out there that clash with their personal styles — O2’s masks feature interchangeable shells in a variety of colours to match your mood or outfits.

At the core of the mask is the all-important electrostatic filter that can be replaced as required, providing up to two weeks’ worth of protection with each refill, which is worth noting for those seeking a slightly more environmentally friendly alternative to daily disposable masks.

How does it protect you?

O2’s electrostatic filter is made to attract, trap and neutralise small particles. It’s reported to be 98.6 percent effective against car exhaust, pollution, smog and particles that measure at 2.5 microns — what you may know as ‘PM2.5 masks’ protect exactly against such substances. Through rigorous testing, O2’s masks have also shown evidence that they are 95 percent effective against particles down to 0.1 microns, including most airborne pathogens and germs.

Can the O2 Curve Mask protect against CoViD-19?

White Mask - O2 Canada

That said, O2 makes it clear that their masks were designed with filtering polluted air in mind, and cannot guarantee against viruses such as CoViD-19 — especially seeing as it’s a relatively new virus that is not yet fully understood.

If you are using the masks during the current coronavirus crisis, there are several best practices you can have in place to help safeguard against contamination: On top of publicly touted health and safety measures such as social distancing and frequent washing and sanitising of hands, O2 Canada recommends that you discard the O2 Curve filter every time you take the mask off to ensure there is no contamination from the inside — and to thoroughly sanitise the mask surfaces after every use.

But with the goal of breathing clean, safe air for every human in mind, O2 Canada’s Curve masks are the forefront of technology when it comes to providing protection for yourself and your loved ones.

The company is also current hard at work on a product specifically catering to the safety of healthcare and frontline workers who are at most risk to the virus on a day to day basis. Stay tuned for more information when that is made available.

The O2 Curve masks are priced from HK$551 (inclusive of three filters) and are available at O2 Canada online.