From: ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Market research question: N99 vs N95 for specific market segment
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2020 10:51:17 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: 58AFF276-59D5-416E-8155-B0C65CD3EE59**At_Symbol_Here**

Yes, that's a tough one, Neal.  First off, I encourage everyone regardless of health to be walking a good mile or two every day right whether or not they like to because it will build up your aerobic capacity in the event you get hit with the infection.  Second, for these health care workers one can ask whether its possible for them to switch to a role  where they might be able to reduce their public interactions and potentially take breaks from using the masks all the time.  Third, they could also consider family/medical leave or personal/sick/vacation days. Although no doubt they don't want #2 or #3 because they want to do their jobs. Fourth, a mask with an exhalation valve (if prudent for their situation) will make breathing more comfortable.

But probably the biggest thing I would suggest is some form of cognitive therapy. It's probably unlikely that these folks are truly unable to breathe unless they have underlying health issues, rather, it's the *awareness* of breathing that is freaking them out.  CT or meditation or consciously thinking about other things instead of breathing can really help.  Relaxation exercises while wearing a clean mask at home might help.  Probably some web resources on this stuff, if someone has the time to look.

In my trademark loquacious fashion, let me take you down a short rabbit hole here - in my youth we were on an "out island adventure" in the Bahamas on a deserted private island and the boat captain asked if we wanted to try scuba diving. I said something like "don't you need to be trained and certified?" and he said (and imagine this with a Crocodile Dundee type voice) "Naaah, it's easy. Look, breathe here, if you get water in your mask you do this."  So, off we went.  I was first over the side and sank to the bottom at about 25 ft. Learning to breathe with a SCUBA respirator is really, really odd the first time you do it and you obviously need to learn pretty much instantly. You feel like it's forcing you even though it's a demand draw. You have a hard time inhaling and exhaling normally, but once you get used to it, it's easy.  But it's not for everyone. So, as I sat there on the bottom enjoying the experience, waving my hands at a new spiny lobster friend I made, my girlfriend dropped over the side and landed near me.  Her eyes were as big as dinner plates.  Like a classic cartoon character . Terrified.  Panicked.  Couldn't handle the respirator thing even though she was quite comfortable in the water and with snorkeling.  Same thing as with the N95 masks only on a different scale.  We both later got PADI-certified and she was fine with it.

A couple quick updates:

1.  Protective equipment costs increase over 1,000% amid competition and surge in demand:  

2.  Coronavirus clue? Most cases aboard U.S. aircraft carrier are symptom-free:  The Navy is in the midst of testing every crew member of the USS Roosevelt which is giving us a really good look at how this thing spreads.  These are generally healthy, robust people.  60% of the 600 who tested positive reported no symptoms at all.  This really changes the calculus on testing and re-opening, particularly when you think about locations where young people gather whether it is colleges, nightclubs, sporting events etc.

3. Quick clarification on my blurb below about mask pre-orders below.  Even if  you don't meet one of our priority classes for mask sales, you are still free to place pre-orders with us. Just let us know you're not claiming priority and are content to wait.

Stay safe!

Rob Toreki

Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
you know and trust.  Visit us at
esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412
Fax: (856) 553-6154, PO Box 1003, Blackwood, NJ 08012

On Apr 16, 2020, at 10:47 PM, NEAL LANGERMAN <neal**At_Symbol_Here**CHEMICAL-SAFETY.COM> wrote:

Rob, et al
Thanks for that update. Commend you on ethical business practices. 
I had 3 HCW tell me today that they are finding breathing resistance of the masks they are using (2 N95 and 1 surgical) taxing. None have had PFTs nor training. Aside from what to do if breathing becomes intolerable what do you say? 

Sent from Neal Langerman's NEXUS 6.
Standard client confidentiality terms apply.

On Thu, Apr 16, 2020, 17:49 ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:
Two quick summaries of the types of responses I got to this inquiry. Thanks to everyone for their input:

1. =46rom a medical perspective, some agreed that the exhalation valve (see the CDC link in Note 1 below which summarizes the issues well) could be problematic.  In theory, the combination of one of those with a surgical mask might work out. The ultimate solution is actually PAPR's, but that is orders of magnitude more expensive and production capacity for those will take years to fill the need.

2. Regardless of medical or industrial, we all know that PPE that is not worn correctly is not effective. We've all seen how students in undergraduate courses are often found with fogged up goggles protecting their foreheads rather than their eyes.  No doubt in the upcoming hot summer months where many will be occupationally wearing masks for extended periods, the N99 is much more comfortable, is more likely to be worn, and is therefore worth the added cost.

Switching gears, I wanted to give you an update on the state of PPE availabilty in New Jersey as I understand it right now

We actually got an allocation of five cases of N99's which were snapped up by a local hospital. I've spoken with a number of medical and government purchasers today and what's going on out there is astonishing. A county-level official told me that they have suppliers demanding 100% cash in advance with a minimum of 100K or even 1 million masks of unknown origin at prices of $4 or more per N95 - for delivery in June.  Everyone I spoke to was amazed that we are selling at normal prices under normal terms - not just amazed, but *grateful*.  I had yet another email today from a hospital worker who wrote "I am in the healthcare field and I've been searching high and low for these. I can prove my employment or whatever it will take to get my box sooner rather than later."  He followed up in our discussion with "the minimums and costs are out of control especially for someone like me that needs a small amount because I would rather buy my own and save the hospital masks for the emergency doctors and triage docs."  It's such an extreme between the multitudes of selfless individuals and the small minority of soulless ones who control a large segment of the supply.  Some of the responses I got to my original post indicated that they wanted masks but couldn't justify them yet when essential people need them more - and that they were happy to wait. The DCHAS list really is a bunch of Good People=E2=84=A2.

Tyvek, respirator hoods, gowns, gloves  etc. all remain unavailable at the master distributors we use for those.  They are not accepting orders.  Best guess I've gotten from them is that stock might become available June 1.

This last bit is effectively a commercial solicitation to the readership, so you can stop here if you don't want to hear it.  I am most interested in interest regarding #2:

1. There is the very small *potential* we can get additional cases of N99's next week.  I have no idea how many, if any, and I expect other hospitals I've contacted to grab them.  However, if you're a medical worker, hospital, university health clinic, first responder, run an essential business/industry etc. located in the US and you want to be put on our waiting list for these, contact us OFF LIST at esupport**At_Symbol_Here**, and let us know how many you're looking for.  The N99's are listed here: 

2. I am putting together an order for additional N99's and N95's which we hope to have by the end of June.  N95 info here:  If you would like to place a pre-order, again, contact us OFF LIST with your info and needs.  Don't bother using the web site to place preorders.  We anticipate monthly restocks and wide availability by August.

3. FYI, we have some face shields due in around the end of the month:  You can place those orders on the web site if you're interested in them.

For the masks, if you are in one of these critical areas and are placing your order as an individual rather than an institution, we're going to need some kind of proof.  That can be a picture of your work ID, a pay stub, an email from your or a supervisor's work email etc.  Or you can have the items shipped to you at that institution.

I am still amazed that nobody in our government has seen fit to institute price controls on these essential items and to restrict their sale to areas of critical need. Procurement people are needlessly wasting time, effort, and money - fighting each other while trying to protect the heroes who need this stuff.  Hopefully more businesses will step up and do the right thing.  I'm trying to lead by example.

If you read this far, thanks for indulging me..  Stay safe and healthy!

Rob Toreki

Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
you know and trust.  Visit us at
esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412
Fax: (856) 553-6154, PO Box 1003, Blackwood, NJ 08012

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.