Every year air pollution kills millions of people, according to the Center for Disease Control. Dangerous particles infiltrate lungs and blood streams, leading to lung cancer, strokes and heart disease. And the problem is not limited to smog-heavy cities in China and India. In the United States, 80,000 people died prematurely last year because of air pollution.
According to the World Health Organization, 90% of the world breathes unhealthy air daily. If you want to avoid risk, you need to protect yourself.
The simplest way to avoid harmful particles that come from air pollution is to wear a face mask. In places like Beijing and Shanghai they've been ubiquitous for years. Trouble is that most inexpensive "over the counter" masks do little to protect you.
The surgical mask, or the cloth masks, aren’t doing as much as you would think.
For full protection, the mask must form a seal around your face. "If you were to scuba dive with goggles that don't work you would have water in your eyes," said Ege, head of expat sales for mask company.
"It's the same with air pollution." And it's not just mask makers saying this. Doctors agree, reports HuffPost.
Other companies besides idMASK are designing hi-tech masks. Hexa, which is manufacturing a fan-powered mask, recently finished a Kickstarter campaign. And the French company R-PUR hopes to release a line of masks specifically designed for cyclists and motorcyclists.
Don't be surprised if even more face mask innovators emerge in the coming years. While historically heavy-polluting China is taking aggressive measures to combat air pollution (in January, the government halted construction on 103 coal plants), some industrial powerhouses, like the United States, are subsidizing energy sources which generate dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide.
Transparency Market Research predicts that by 2024 the face mask industry will be worth $336.7 million dollars.