There is not much awareness on using elastomeric respirator during the pandemic. Based on its construction, I believe elastomeric respirator to be more effective compare to surgical, cloth or N95 mask in providing protection against Covid-19 especially in crowded place or risky places.
When the pandemic started, the price of face mask soared but elastomeric respirator price remain stable as there is no surge in demand. At the moment, the price of a quality elastomeric respirator is in the range of RM120-150. The initial cost might be higher but it has the potential of higher saving in the long run.
We are now advised to put on a double face mask; surgical & cloth mask. The cloth mask is to provide a better seal of the mask with our face and double mask is said to provide better filtration. I find this setting make breathing more difficult and we are also taking in exhaled air.
With elastomeric respirator, a perfect seal is easily achievable with the silicon lining which also make wearing it for a longer duration more bearable. There is also a built in exhalation valve which will expel the air we exhale. The downside is that the exhaled air is not filtered out. Hence, there is a suggestion to put on another surgical mask after the exhalation valve to protect the surrounding people.
The inhalation valve is directly connected to the filter which means we will take in clean filtered air into our lungs.
By choosing the right filter such as P100 filter cartridge, its filtration is even better than the N95 mask. With the hard case P100 filter cartridge, it will last a distance and probably require replacement annually or when breathing resistance increases. The filter cartridge exterior casing and the elastomeric respirator can be clean/sanitized easily and be reused. This will create less wastage because surgical mask is usually discarded after a single use.
I believe it is the right time to educate the public on opting elastomeric respirator for better protection although wearing one of this respirator might attract some attention as the wearer will look like Darth Vader.