It all started with a global pandemic
Why We Developed M21®
As we are well aware, prior to 2020, mask wearing was only on the minds of select individuals, primarily those in the medical / healthcare fields. But, in the early weeks of 2020, our world was turned upside down with unprecedented lockdowns, quarantines, and mask wearing in a global effort to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus or Covid-19.
As mask wearing became more and more commonplace, at first voluntarily and then due to mandates, the inventors of M21® noticed that masks were being blamed for an array of health issues. Regardless of whether the mask was surgical, N95 or cloth, people were complaining of skin irritations/infections, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, and drowsiness as a result of having to wear a mask, especially for long periods of time. It was especially alarming to see athletes having to wear masks during their sport and watch reports of athletes collapsing on the field, presumably because with the mask they were not getting enough oxygen. All of this evidence strongly pointed to the question: Are masks healthy or can they actually compromise an individual’s health?
Understanding the Problem
Are masks compromising our health?
We knew something wasn’t right and at the time, with no apparent end in sight for mask wearing we sought to understand the issue in more detail. As we started paying more attention to news about masks, contradictory reports began to emerge. For example, during a controlled study at Stanford University, students were saying they saw a 5-20% drop in oxygen levels with mask wearing. Yet, other videos emerged online showing minimal oxygen drops. As you can imagine, the more we tried to understand research that had already been conducted, the more questions we had.
Our goal was to get to the root cause of the aforementioned health issues, and while we suspected that oxygen deprivation was the culprit, we wanted to know for sure and the only way was to conduct our own experiential study – i.e. identifying any drop in oxygen levels for both surgical and N95 masks with the parameter being a 2-minute timeframe with normal breathing (no excessive movement or exercise, the bare minimum of physical exertion)
A two-chambered mask
The atmosphere is made up of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and trace amounts of other elements, including water vapor. Individuals take in this approximate 21% pure oxygen when they breathe, and when we tested the oxygen level inside the mask worn for 2 minutes, we saw this percentage drop anywhere from 2.6% to 4.2% from that number of 21% pure oxygen. These numbers equate to level drops of 13-21% of what we typically breathe. But why is there such a substantial drop in oxygen level? It became obvious to us rather quickly that it’s because there’s no escape for the CO2 we are exhaling and so we are constantly inhaling our own exhaled CO2 because it cannot escape the mask, nor can new fresh oxygen properly enter the mask.
So now the question evolved from “why are oxygen levels dropping?” to “how much CO2 are we actually inhaling?” and is that inhaled CO2 the real culprit of the health issues people are experiencing? Using the same 2-minute test, we analyzed CO2 increases. Much to our surprise, we witnessed our testing equipment max out at the 10,000 parts per million (PPM) limit within the 2-minute time period. But was that bad? We needed to better understand how exposure to increased levels of CO2 can impact our health. Normal outside air quality is 350 PPM and normal inside air quality with good air flow is 700 PPM. Headaches and dizziness can begin at 1000-2000 PPM and we were hitting a CO2 saturation of 10,000 PPM inside the mask cavity in less than 2 minutes! As stated, when exposed up to 5,000 ppm, various symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, toxicity and oxygen deprivation occurs over hours of exposure. However, once exposed to 10,000 ppm or higher, these same symptoms will occur in minutes while at 40,000 ppm is immediately harmful. This testing discovery showed us that it is not just low oxygen levels that were significantly impacting health, but the extent to which CO2 overtakes the space inside the mask and becomes the primary element that’s being inhaled over time.
So, what can be done to increase the amount of oxygen being inhaled, and more importantly, ensure that we are not continuously inhaling our own exhaled CO2? Clearly traditional masks were never intended to be worn for extended and active periods of time. And so, the M21® two-chamber enhanced mask design concept was born. The result of an extensive search of patents over 100 years old , coupled with experiential testing and receiving “undeniable patentability” on all claims under the three main criteria for examination – Novelty, Inventive Step, and Industrial Applicability from the international patent office , we are proud to provide a mask that enables Better Breathing for every wearer.