A look at the new N95 respirators of tomorrow.

A look at the new N95 respirators of tomorrow.

Respirators are playing an increasingly larger role in protecting our health.  Respirators have traditionally been used professionally to protect workers against toxic, dangerous substances or pathogens.  For example, healthcare workers commonly use respirators when interacting with patients to protect themselves from communicative diseases.  Respirators, especially N95 masks, have been shown to have a protective effect against clinical respiratory illness and influenza-like illness (Offeddu, Yung, Low, & Tam, 2017).  For healthcare workers in China, the use of N95 respirators has been shown to be a cost-effective intervention over simple medical masks for the prevention of serious pathogens (Mukerji et al., 2017).  However, environmental hazards, like air pollution, have suggested a beneficial application of respirators for everyone.  Air pollution is a major worsening public health concern.  The World Health Organization estimates that, in 2012, ambient air pollution was responsible for nearly seven million deaths, worldwide (WHO, 2014).  In particular, China has haze pollution, a particularly serious form of air pollution, due to the high concentration of environmental pollutants like carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulate matter (Gao et al., 2017; Giles & Koehle, 2014).

“Traditional respirators also suffer from accumulation of carbon dioxide in the microenvironment, leading to increased carbon dioxide levels, called hypercapnia.”

Air pollutants have acute and chronic effects on human health.  Effects can range from simple respiratory irritation to chronic bronchitis, acute respiratory infections, pulmonary fibrosis, and lung cancer.  Pollution can also seriously worsen pre-existing cardiorespiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and congestive heart failure (Kampa & Castanas, 2008; Requia et al., 2018).  There is a correlation between air pollution and the incidence of childhood asthma (Khreis et al., 2017).  The mechanisms by which both indoor and outdoor pollutants cause health problems include carcinogenicity, genetic toxicity, inflammation, and oxidative stress (Li, Wen, & Zhang, 2017).  The significant health effects of air pollution, especially in those with existing cardiorespiratory disease, cannot be simply avoided and stresses the importance a respirator can have in the overall health of both adults and children.

“TO2M respirator mask addresses this problem through a proprietary oxygenation material that is present within a plastic capsule that is bonded directly onto the mask. ”

Traditional respirators protect through a filtration material through which a person breathes that blocks toxins and pathogens, commonly based on size.  However, traditional respirators have problems that stem from how the wearer breathes.  When you exhale, your breath contains a quarter of the oxygen, over 100 times the amount of carbon dioxide and 30 times as much moisture.  Traditional respirators and masks trap this air between your mouth and the outer surface of the mask, creating an uncomfortable and unhealthy microenvironment.  Breathing this air can have both acute and chronic negative effects on health due to a (1) decrease in oxygenation (hypoxia), (2) retention of carbon dioxide (hypercapnia), and (3) discomfort from excessive moisture which leads to breaks in the seal and non-compliance with the mask.  The TO2M respirator mask is an improvement over traditional respirator masks because it addresses each of these problems.

Oxygen plays important roles in overall health and disease.  Insufficient oxygenation, or hypoxia, can have negative effects on behavior and cognitive functioning, such as irritability, hostility, and impairments in vision, mental acuity, and memory (Bahrke & Shukitt-Hale, 1993).  Studies have shown that high intensity interval training, which increases peak oxygen uptake, can improve some cardiometabolic risk factors in those who are overweight/obese (Batacan, Duncan, Dalbo, Tucker, & Fenning, 2017).  Oxygen is also important for the proper functioning of our immune system.  Many of our immune cells kill pathogens through the production of superoxide, which is an oxygen-dependent process (Guo & DiPietro, 2010).  Oxygen plays a vital role in wound healing.  It prevents infection, stimulates cell growth and differentiation, and promotes collagen synthesis and wound contraction (Guo & DiPietro, 2010).

Oxygen has many therapeutic uses, as well.  Hyperoxia, or increased oxygen content, forms the basis of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which has been shown to reduce the incidence of surgical site infection (Hopf & Holm, 2008; Qadan, Akça, Mahid, Hornung, & Polk, 2009) and protect the myocardium from ischemic damage.  In addition, hyperoxia reduces the incidence and longevity of gas micro-emboli during cardiopulmonary bypass (Young, 2012).  Oxygen is also important in fighting the effects of aging.  Chronic exposure to ozone (O3), a common air pollutant, has been shown to cause premature aging of the lungs (Lippmann, 1989).  Many of the negative effects of aging are caused, in part, by the production of free radicals, called oxidative stress.  Oxygen is needed for the proper function of the enzymes that protect us from the effects of free radicals.  Hyperoxia is neuroprotective in acute ischemic stroke, likely mediated by a reduction in oxidative stress (Yuan, Pan, Liu, & Liu, 2014).

This suggests that the hypoxic state induced by traditional respirators can have potentially significant health effects, especially during chronic use.  TO2M respirator mask addresses this problem through a proprietary oxygenation material that is present within a plastic capsule that is bonded directly onto the mask.  This releases pure oxygen into the microenvironment between your face and the mask and thereby increasing the oxygen content of the air inhaled while wearing the mask and reversing the hypoxia that plagues traditional respirators.

Traditional respirators also suffer from accumulation of carbon dioxide in the microenvironment, leading to increased carbon dioxide levels, called hypercapnia.  Hypercapnia can also have negative health effects.  Hypercapnia has been shown to increase regional blood flow, blood pressure, and pulse (Gitelman, Prohovnik, & Tatemichi, 1991), which can cause or worsen existing hypertension.  Even short-term hypercapnia is associated with mental disturbances, such as confusion, delirium, and drowsiness (Austen, Carmichael, & Adams, 1957).  Hypercapnia is also associated with an increase in anxiety, frequency of panic attacks, and cortisol levels (Woods, Charney, Goodman, & Heninger, 1988).  Chronic hypercapnia, such as seen in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is linked to nutritional problems, weight loss, skeletal muscle dysfunction, systemic inflammation, and cardiorespiratory disease (Agustí et al., 2003).  Many negative health effects of smoking has been linked to increased carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide content causing a failure in the normal regulation of cerebrovascular blood flow, which may explain the higher incidence of cerebrovascular disease in smokers (Silvestrini, Troisi, Matteis, Cupini, & Bernardi, 1996).  In addition to hypoxia, hypercapnia associated with traditional respirator use can have significant negative health effects.  Similar to the problem with hypoxia, the TO2M respirator mask has a proprietary material within the bonded plastic capsule on the mask that directly absorbs the carbon dioxide, thus lowering the carbon dioxide levels in the microenvironment.  This prevents the hypercapnia induced by traditional respirators.

Finally, traditional respirators also suffer from the accumulation of moisture due to the increased humidity of the microenvironmental.  This leads to discomfort and breaks in the seal of the mask on the face, which is critical for ensuring proper protection against pathogens, allergens, and pollutants.  Studies have shown the importance of a proper fit of an N95 mask to prevent the transmission of pathogens (Offeddu et al., 2017).  In addition, discomfort is a major cause of improper fit and non-compliance with N95 respirators and medical masks (Sim, Moey, & Tan, 2014).  The TO2M respirator addresses this problem through a proprietary moisture-absorbent material within the plastic capsule bonded to the mask.  This reduces the moisture and humidity of the microenvironment, leading to a more comfortable fit and greater compliance.

One further advantage is the versatility of the TO2M respirator mask compared to traditional respirators.  Traditional N95 masks offer protection by blocking materials based on a single size alone.  The TO2M respirator is fully customizable to have any criteria desired, such as N95 or FFP3, through modification of the bonded plastic capsule.  In addition, anionic materials can be added to the plastic capsule as well to further increase the amount of oxygen produced and act as an additional filtration barrier.  By working with TO2M, you can create a respirator that is both comfortable to wear and precisely designed to serve your particular protective purpose.

In summary, the TO2M respirator is a fully customizable protective mask that addresses the problems that plague traditional respirators.  In a time when environmental factors are having an increasingly greater impact on our health, the TO2M respirator represents a landmark improvement over existing technology that can have a dramatic effect on health and well-being. 

 

References   

Agustí, A. G. N., Noguera, A., Sauleda, J., Sala, E., Pons, J., & Busquets, X. (2003). Systemic effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. European Respiratory Journal, 21(2), 347–360. https://doi.org/10.1183/09031936.03.00405703

Austen, F. K., Carmichael, M. W., & Adams, R. D. (1957). Neurologic Manifestations of Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency. New England Journal of Medicine, 257(13), 579–590. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM195709262571301

Bahrke, M. S., & Shukitt-Hale, B. (1993). Effects of Altitude on Mood, Behaviour and Cognitive Functioning. Sports Medicine, 16(2), 97–125. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199316020-00003

Batacan, R. B., Duncan, M. J., Dalbo, V. J., Tucker, P. S., & Fenning, A. S. (2017). Effects of high-intensity interval training on cardiometabolic health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51(6), 494–503. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2015-095841

Gao, J., Woodward, A., Vardoulakis, S., Kovats, S., Wilkinson, P., Li, L., … Liu, Q. (2017). Haze, public health and mitigation measures in China: A review of the current evidence for further policy response. Science of The Total Environment, 578, 148–157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.10.231

Giles, L. V., & Koehle, M. S. (2014). The Health Effects of Exercising in Air Pollution. Sports Medicine, 44(2), 223–249. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0108-z

Gitelman, D. R., Prohovnik, I., & Tatemichi, T. K. (1991). Safety of Hypercapnic Challenge: Cardiovascular and Neurologic Considerations. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 11(6), 1036–1040. https://doi.org/10.1038/jcbfm.1991.172

Guo, S., & DiPietro, L. A. (2010). Factors Affecting Wound Healing. Journal of Dental Research, 89(3), 219–229. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022034509359125

Hopf, H. W., & Holm, J. (2008). Hyperoxia and infection. Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology, 22(3), 553–569. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BPA.2008.06.001

Kampa, M., & Castanas, E. (2008). Human health effects of air pollution. Environmental Pollution, 151(2), 362–367. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENVPOL.2007.06.012

Khreis, H., Kelly, C., Tate, J., Parslow, R., Lucas, K., & Nieuwenhuijsen, M. (2017). Exposure to traffic-related air pollution and risk of development of childhood asthma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Environment International, 100, 1–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENVINT.2016.11.012

Li, Z., Wen, Q., & Zhang, R. (2017). Sources, health effects and control strategies of indoor fine particulate matter (PM2.5): A review. Science of The Total Environment, 586, 610–622. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.SCITOTENV.2017.02.029

Lippmann, M. (1989). HEALTH EFFECTS OF OZONE A Critical Review. JAPCA, 39(5), 672–695. https://doi.org/10.1080/08940630.1989.10466554

Mukerji, S., MacIntyre, C. R., Seale, H., Wang, Q., Yang, P., Wang, X., & Newall, A. T. (2017). Cost-effectiveness analysis of N95 respirators and medical masks to protect healthcare workers in China from respiratory infections. BMC Infectious Diseases, 17(1), 464. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-017-2564-9

Offeddu, V., Yung, C. F., Low, M. S. F., & Tam, C. C. (2017). Effectiveness of Masks and Respirators Against Respiratory Infections in Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 65(11), 1934–1942. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix681

Qadan, M., Akça, O., Mahid, S. S., Hornung, C. A., & Polk, H. C. (2009). Perioperative Supplemental Oxygen Therapy and Surgical Site Infection. Archives of Surgery, 144(4), 359. https://doi.org/10.1001/archsurg.2009.1

Requia, W. J., Adams, M. D., Arain, A., Papatheodorou, S., Koutrakis, P., & Mahmoud, M. (2018). Global Association of Air Pollution and Cardiorespiratory Diseases: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Investigation of Modifier Variables. American Journal of Public Health, 108(S2), S123–S130. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303839

Silvestrini, M., Troisi, E., Matteis, M., Cupini, L. M., & Bernardi, G. (1996). Effect of Smoking on Cerebrovascular Reactivity. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 16(4), 746–749. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004647-199607000-00027

Sim, S. W., Moey, K. S. P., & Tan, N. C. (2014). The use of facemasks to prevent respiratory infection: a literature review in the context of the Health Belief Model. Singapore Medical Journal, 55(3), 160–167. https://doi.org/10.11622/SMEDJ.2014037

WHO. (2014). 7 million deaths annually linked to air pollution. Cent. Eur. J. Public Health, 22, 53–39.

Woods, S. W., Charney, D. S., Goodman, W. K., & Heninger, G. R. (1988). Carbon Dioxide—Induced Anxiety. Archives of General Psychiatry, 45(1), 43. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800250051007

Young, R. W. (2012). Hyperoxia: a review of the risks and benefits in adult cardiac surgery. The Journal of Extra-Corporeal Technology, 44(4), 241–249. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23441567

Yuan, Z., Pan, R., Liu, W., & Liu, K. (2014). Extended normobaric hyperoxia therapy yields greater neuroprotection for focal transient ischemia-reperfusion in rats. Medical Gas Research, 4(1), 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/2045-9912-4-14

Nathan Hageman, MD, Ph.D

Nathan Hageman received his bachelors in chemistry, biology and physics from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland) and an MD and a Ph.D in neuroscience from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine (Los Angeles, California). He’s had many years of experience writing/editing academic research articles and public government and private research grants, both during his doctorate and as a post-doctoral fellow. He have published numerous academic research papers in peer-reviewed medical journals and have written and been awarded several major scientific National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants. Nearly all of his research articles are available online via Google Scholar or PubMed.

TO2M, The Oxygen Movement, from a Gynecologist’s Point of View

TO2M, The Oxygen Movement, from a Gynecologist’s Point of View

The Oxygen Movement or TO2M for short (simply pronounced “Tom”) reminds me of an old ‘catchy’ song (1978) from the group Sweet, with lyrics, “Love is like oxygen; too much and you get too high, not enough and you’re going to die.” And, it turns out to be TRUE!

TO2M is revolutionizing personal health and hygiene with a patented technology that makes essential bodily functions such as menstruation more comfortable while preserving the normal pH and drier skin. TO2Ms feminine hygiene pads release oxygen and keep moisture away from the delicate tissue of the vulva and perineal area. So how does TO2M accomplish this? The science is entirely pure, but first, let’s start by discussing menstruation.

“TO2M’s technology basically boosts what your good bacteria was trying to do in the first place, but instead of doing it in the vagina, its done within the pad!”

As a gynecologist with 19 years of clinical experience, I have been dealing with menstrual disorders on a daily basis. While annoying to most women, monthly menstrual flow is a sign of excellent health because the lack of blood flow, excessive or irregular blood flow can signify disorders that may impact future fertility, cause pain, even cause cancer.

Menstrual blood is composed red blood cells, uterine tissue, mucus, vaginal secretions, and bacteria. The pH of this fluid is around 7.2-7.4 which is slightly alkaline compared to the vagina and skin which is 3.5 to 4.5. Menstrual blood is practically odorless. There are beneficial bacteria on the skin and in the vagina necessary to keep the vagina healthy. Harmful bacteria can enter the vagina from the bowel as a result of back-to-front wiping after urination or bowel movements. All bacteria utilize blood to grow and raise the pH which can cause an unpleasant odor due to amines (ammonia) by-products. These amines also irritate the skin.

The oxygen-releasing and pH reducing technology of TO2M menstrual pads helps reduce the ‘bad’ anaerobic bacteria of the vagina that is responsible for the chemical irritants and odor. The pads release oxygen as a result of a combination of their special enzyme-peroxide duo that reacts with the menstrual fluid to release pure oxygen and water. While the pad’s pH is reduced by a weak acid found naturally in your body as well as fruits. In fact, the good bacteria of the vagina known as lactobacillus make the vagina slightly acidic by the release of lactic acid and peroxide, which is another form of oxygen. So TO2M’s technology basically boosts what your good bacteria was trying to do in the first place, but instead of doing it in the vagina, its done within the pad!

So, having the oxygen producing pads next to the skin keeps the skin at a healthy pH and reduces the ability of bacteria to grow and produce irritating and odor-causing substances. Regular pads that are currently on the market keep blood and bacteria next to the skin and do not allow the skin to breathe due to their super absorbent nature. While being super absorbent is good, TO2M pads have additional benefits which absorbs both moisture and humidity.

There is actually a difference between humidity and moisture. Moisture are those larger molecules of water or blood in this case which just feels like sitting on a puddle of water, while humidity is the kind responsible for that damp uncomfortable, diaper-like feeling. No other pad reduces humidity like TO2M does. Dryness is also maintained by a superficial layer that keeps moisture away from the skin. Dry skin with a low or normal pH keep the harmful bacteria from growing and causing problems like odors and irritation.

Yeast is also known to stay in the dormant state when the pH is acidic among other optimal conditions. Candida albicans and other species are entirely normal inhabitants of healthy skin. However, heat, moisture, and higher pHs make yeast more active and cause infections. That’s why some women get yeast infections with every period, the blood makes the pH and, and that alone can trigger a flare. Likewise, elevated pH is potentially the cause or the result of bacterial vaginosis (BV) which then maintains the alkaline pH due to the bacteria associated with BV. The bacteria of BV do not like oxygen.

As you can see, the oxygen releasing technology of TO2M’s feminine hygiene pads performs essential functions to keep skin comfortable, dry, and acidic. Never before has that been possible. Current pads are made of chemicals that can be irritants to the skin and do nothing to keep bacteria from growing—unless they add disinfectants—like bleaches. The long-term effects of these chemicals next to the skin are why there is a surge in more natural and organic solutions to the feminine pad industry.

References

  1. Widholm O, Kantero RL. A statistical analysis of the menstrual patterns of 8,000 Finnish girls and their mothers. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand Suppl 1971;14:(suppl 14):1–36. [PubMed]
  2. World Health Organization multicenter study on menstrual and ovulatory patterns in adolescent girls. II. Longitudinal study of menstrual patterns in the early postmenarcheal period, duration of bleeding episodes and menstrual cycles. World Health Organization Task Force on Adolescent Reproductive Health. J Adolesc Health Care 1986;7:236–44. [PubMed
  3. Hickey M, Balen A. Menstrual disorders in adolescence: investigation and management. Hum Reprod Update 2003;9:493–504. [PubMed] [Full Text
  4. Diagnosis of abnormal uterine bleeding in reproductive-aged women. Practice Bulletin No. 128. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2012;s120:197–206. [PubMed] [Obstetrics & Gynecology
  5. Munro MG, Critchley HO, Broder MS, Fraser IS. FIGO classification system (PALM-COEIN)    for causes of abnormal uterine bleeding in nongravid women of reproductive age. FIGO Working Group on Menstrual Disorders. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 2011;113:3–13. [PubMed]
  6. Beaman, L., and Blaine L. Beaman. “The role of oxygen and its derivatives in microbial pathogenesis and host defense.” Annual Reviews in Microbiology (1984): 27-48.
  7. Lam, Moy Heang, and Douglas F. Birch. “Survival of Gardnerella vaginalis in human urine.” American journal of clinical pathology (1991): 234-239.
  8. Winceslaus, S. J., and G. Calver. “Recurrent bacterial vaginosis-an old approach to a new problem.” International journal of STD & AIDS (1996): 284-287.
  9. Cohen, L. E. S. T. E. R. “Influence of pH on vaginal discharges.” British Journal of Venereal Diseases (1969): 241. 
Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist with 19 years clinical experience in a suburban Midwestern community. She is the inventor of six novel medical devices that provide more effective and healthier alternatives to common female ailments. Her expertise is all forms of vaginitis and researches and writes about gynecology, women’s health, and natural remedies.