O2 Curve & Covid-19
What is the difference between a respirator and a mask?
Respirators protect the wearer from exposure to airborne particles, and in healthcare, protect from exposure to biological aerosols including viruses and bacteria. Surgical masks are a barrier to splashes, droplets, and biological fluids, and were designed to protect patients from droplets expelled from health care workers. Respirators are designed to seal tight to the face of the wearer. O2 Canada manufactures respirators, and currently we have no plans to manufacture masks, except for use with our respirator products for health care workers.
Is the O2 Curve NIOSH N95 certified?
Presently, the O2 Curve is not NIOSH N95 certified, and does not claim to be. O2 Canada’s mission is to make clean air available to everyone, including health care workers. We are aware of the global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), and therefore it is essential that we provide accurate and transparent information to allow our customers to make informed decisions about our products. The O2 Curve was designed for air pollution, not for clinical care. Although the filter media used in the O2 Curve is capable of filtering ultra-fine particulates at greater than 95% efficiency, part of the N95 certification requires passing three tests that examine valve leakage, breathability, and a sodium load test. In 2018, the O2 Curve was tested at Nelson Labs, and passed the testing for breathability and valve leakage, but due to the compact design of the O2 Curve filter, it may not be compatible with the standard NIOSH N95 testing procedure for sodium load testing, as this required preloading our filters before testing. This process distorted the O2 Curve’s filter and how it is designed to fit with a tight seal inside the respirator. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have received numerous inquiries asking whether the O2 Curve can be used in clinical applications. We are currently conducting research to determine the compatibility of the O2 Curve with the NIOSH N95 standard. We are actively investigating how to most appropriately test the O2 Curve under these conditions, including inserting the filter material into the O2 Curve prior to the preloading component of the NIOSH N95 test, to minimize distortion and more accurately and appropriately approximate the conditions under which the O2 Curve is used. This testing is ongoing. The research we have to date is described below. We will be continually updating and sharing our research as it becomes available.
How does the O2 Curve compare to an N95 respirator?
Yes, the University of Waterloo Green Energy and Pollution Control Research Laboratory tested the O2 Curve against other commercially available respirators, with particles ranging from 0.5 µm to 4.7 µm. The O2 Curve outperformed the other respirators tested, which included a leading brand disposable N95 respirator, however it is important to note that this study did not specifically include the most penetrating particle size of 0.3 µm in the NIOSH N95 certification, and the testing methodology was not identical to the NIOSH standard. The University of Waterloo study used a flow rate of 32 L / min, which is based on the average work of breathing when doing light physical work. The NIOSH testing standard is 85 L / min, which is based on the average work of breathing when doing heavy physical work, or running at high speed.
Can the O2 Curve be mask fit tested?
Yes. Every O2 Curve can be fit tested to an individual user, in the same way that a disposable N95 respirator can. Qualitative testing can be done without any modifications, and for quantitative testing we have developed a shell and filter adaptor that allows individuals to be tested without damaging their own O2 Curve.
How does the O2 Curve perform in terms of fit testing?
The purpose of the mask fit test is to provide an individualized result for a specific wearer. Therefore, not every respirator will fit every face, however the O2 Curve has consistently passed both qualitative and quantitative mask fit testing. Using the TSI PortaCount® 8038 QNFT protocol, the O2 Curve has repeatedly passed with a score of 200+ out of a highest possible score of 200.
Will the O2 Curve help protect me against COVID-19?
Most masks do not filter particles of the size of the COVID-19 virus, and if they do not seal well to your face, they will allow virus particles to pass around the filter. The O2 Curve’s medical-grade silicone can provide an exceptional seal and our filter material is highly efficient at removing harmful particulate matter. The respirator is submersible and can withstand numerous cleaning methods. We recommend that it is best practice to appropriately discard the O2 Curve filter and sanitize the entire respirator after each use. Wearing any mask or respirator is not sufficient to protect you from infection. Depending on your environment, a respirator is just one of many practices that help protect you against the risk of infection. It is important to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as well as avoiding close contact with others who may be infected. No mask is capable of protecting you 100% against any other dangerous substance or virus. In particular, COVID-19 is a new virus that is not yet fully understood. We cannot, and we expressly do not, guarantee that our respirators will protect you against COVID-19.
What about cross contamination?
We developed an adaptor to allow placement of a disposable surgical mask over the O2 Curve, to minimize cross contamination. If the disposable surgical mask becomes soiled, it can be replaced, and the O2 Curve’s outer shell can also be wiped down with commercially available disinfection wipes, such as Oxivir® Tb or CaviWipes™, to minimize exposure both to the wearer, and others.
What type of filter does the O2 Curve use?
The O2 Curve uses a triboelectric charged filtration system, which consists of a hydrophobic outer shell that sandwiches a layer of melt blown filter medium. This filter system works both mechanically and electrostatically, and particles that are too small to be filtered physically are attracted to the charged filter, for improved filter efficiency and performance. The O2 Curve filters are designed to filter with greater than 99% efficiency down to a particle size of 0.1 µm, and independent lab testing confirmed filter efficiency of greater than 99% with particle sizes from 0.1 to 0.5 µm, using a flow rate of 236 L / min.
Which way do I insert the filter?
The O2 Curve filters come in a plastic envelope. The side of the filter facing the clear film of the envelope is upstream of the airflow, meaning the side that can be seen through the clear film is the side that should face out and away from the user’s face.
How often should I replace the O2 Curve's filter?
How often you should replace your filter depends on usage and the environment it’s used in. For general use, such as pollution filtration, the filter should last one to two weeks. In very dusty environments, you may need to switch the filter more often. Health measures that work for some people may not necessarily work for others. Different people have different levels of sensitivity, and as such, may require different types of masks to protect against the same type and concentration of substance. A mask improperly used may do little to protect you from any offending substance and may even worsen your exposure in some cases.
How long can the filters be used for?
For air pollution applications, the O2 Curve filters was recommended to be changed after fourteen (14) days with typical use. We are actively researching how the O2 Curve can be safely used in clinical settings, and we would recommend the filters be changed daily in those conditions, or if the filter is otherwise compromised. We are currently studying extended filter use beyond these recommendations. When the wearer is intending to protect against infectious particles, it is prudent that the filter should be disposed of each time the O2 Curve is used, and that the respirator should be disinfected between uses.
The O2 Max Air filter is 3x more breathable than our regular filter, allowing for 125CFM of airflow. This lighter filter material maintains an efficiency of greater than 99% with particle sizes down to 0.1 µm using a flow rate of 32L/min. Given the lightweight filtration system it is recommended to change your Max Air filter daily to ensure maximum protection.
Can the filters be sanitized and reused?
Due to the severity and unknown risks with regard to infectious diseases, we are recommending that filters be used once and disposed of appropriately. Until we have established a safe and effective sanitation process, we are recommending single use as best practice. However, we are currently studying sterilization methods and protocols for our filters, to determine how the filters can be reused safely, and how many times this can be done before losing filter efficiency.
When will my order ship?
Orders will ship within 3 business days of purchase.
How long is the order queue?
We are in stock on respirators and orders are shipping within 3 business days. We are no longer in a shipping backlog.
Can I get a Magnetic Clip?
Due to global supply issues as a result of the pandemic, we have discontinued the Magnetic Clip. This decision helps us deliver our respirators to those in need as soon as possible.
How much is shipping?
Shipping rates vary by region and by weight of the package. Most shipping rates are between $10-$30 USD.