The now ubiquitous N95 masks being used around the world to stop the spread of COVID-19 are based on a technology that filters PM2.5 (particulate matter that is less than 2.5 micrometers). Before the pandemic, these masks were mainly used en masse in places where air pollution is a concern. The PM2.5 filters protect against any number of things you might find in a big city—think car exhaust, fossil fuel emissions from factories, waste management facilities, and coal burning.
Beyond this— and the reason we have started to carry PM2.5 filtered masks in our store— is the ongoing threat of COVID-19 transmission. The PM2.5 filters that go into the masks we sell protect against coronavirus' spread.
When this first started 3 or 4 months ago in the States, one of the earliest universal symptoms seemed to be the loss of one's sense of smell and taste. There were (and are, still) a lot of unknowns, but that symptom was particularly distressing to us. We recognize what a privilege it is to be able to smell, whether it's nosing a glass of wine, sniffing your partner's sweater, or walking by your favorite bakery in the morning. The scents in our life can define some of our most powerful memories and emotions (for better and worse!), so protecting the gift of our sense of smell is of utmost importance to us.
While protecting yourself from air pollutants, airborne bacteria and viruses, and other toxins is all fine and well, wearing a mask is crucially about protecting the people around you. So, please, this summer, stay safe, be nice, close your eyes and smell something pretty.
Peace and love!