I’ve been rather pleased with https://envomask.com/, and the customer service since purchasing (I’ve asked several questions, with a rapid, personal response each time). I came across them from someone else online extolling their virtues… I was worried they were a shill, but couldn’t be happier with the product.
Note that it’s a ventilated design, but you can also purchase a hard shield that acts similar to a surgical mask to protect others by dispersing exhalation to the sides. I still wear a surgical mask over that (both for safety of others, and to minimize pushback when they see the vent through the shield). Oh, hey, and I see now they sell vent plugs (I’ve avoided manually doing this, as I wasn’t sure if the filter insets were rated for bidirectional airflow).
It’s extremely comfortable, and easy to maintain a proper seal with the silicone gel interface. Very similar to a CPAP mask, if you’ve worn those. I bought a set of 50 small craft paper bags, and after each outing I place the surgical mask and the n95 inset filter in the bag, with a note the date and hours of use. I’ll then reuse (up to 8hrs use) after 3-5 days have passed.
Definitely upped my comfort and confidence vs. my ancient Home Depot n95s that I’d stashed after a drywall teardown.
$80 mask? plus ongoing filter supplies?
not any chance our health insurance will pay for this?
The Dasheng DTC3X are not “SureWay Health’s”, they are made by Shanghai Dasheng Health Products Manufacture Company, Ltd., and you can buy them from Lowes in 5 packs for $4 per mask rather than the rip off BBS price of a 20 pack for 6.49 per mask. (Lowes doesn’t always have them in stock, though, but they don’t jack up the price.)
The surewayhealth dot com domain was registered for the first time less than a month ago on November 24. The alleged BBS “discount” pricing is a lie.
(The same company apparently also does business as “Brio Protection” - they forgot to remove that name from some of the copy on their “surewayhealth” website. Both sites claim to be based in Michigan.
The surewayhealth website doesn’t give any address. It could be a fake clone of the brio protection site. Or, who knows, maybe just a site to track Stack Social promotions separately. Weird to have two almost identical sites, though.
Curiously the group photo of the alleged founders on both Brio Protection and Sureway Heath belongs to the Gardena, CA based company StringKing.
Stringking is lacrosse company that switched to making and distributing PPE but ships entirely from California does not sell N95s to the general public. I can’t tell if Sureway Health’s use of the group photo is a fraud, or if Stringking is selling the PPE they’ve been sourcing for hospitals to the general public under a different company name. The different shipping locations tends to make the fraud hypothesis seem a bit more likely, but I don’t know.)
sure smells scammy
Way cheaper than the medical care your insurance would have to pay for hospitalization. Insurance companies should be pushing masks as much as possible to reduce costs, and paying for them if need be, and the better the mask you can get the better the outcome since the chance of infection, and the severity of infection, depends on how much of the virus you are exposed to. So better protection is better.
You definitely should be getting N95 level protection that well help prevent you from catching Covid as well as help from spreading it, not just wearing cloth source control masks.
The masks at the site the BBS store links to are the right general kind of respirator grade filtration masks, but I don’t trust the anonymous month old website to be reliable. Something seems sketchy.
I’ve been putting off signing up for a boingboing account after the whole user migration thing but hey this is the straw that broke this camel’s back.
A couple months ago I purchased a box of 20 splash rated, Moldex N95 masks for forty-odd dollars from Grainger – a company not known for their low retail prices. The Moldex masks were made in America (presumably higher labor and material costs than Shanghai Dasheng Health had to deal with) and were still one third the price of these.
Perhaps the high demand justifies a higher price but as Shanghai Dasheng Health put it: We hate to see markups on products that can save lives and work to offer the lowest prices possible. See our guide on the cost of N95 masks.
In fact I just checked the aforementioned retailer and they’ve got N95 masks (house brand) in stock for a third the price that SureWay is selling theirs for ($60 for a 20 pack). And yeah it comes with an NIOSH approval letter.
Come on boingboing, don’t legitimize this crap.
When I was a transport RN on the ambulance in the bay area (CA) I used a moldex n95 (forget the model #). Those things were goddamn comfortable! When I moved into the hospital in san Joaquin county (home of the resistant TB strains (woot!)), I moved to the 3m 1860. I went from comfort to “fuck the bridge of your nose and your cheeks!” - but for each I passed the fit test. As a civilian I use cloth masks, but in the thick of it, I use a properly tested (vetted), and fit-test-passed n95. n95 does not necessarily mean safe. Think of it this way - some guys need magnums, some guys need regular fit, and some guys need slim fit (and the gamut). If it don’t fit, you must quit (damn I feel dirty typing this - I must apologize to myself for channeling Cochran). N95s are great, but leave them to the professionals if you haven’t been fit tested. My wife’s hospital had a shortage in early summer due to panic buying of n95s. I’ve also heard stories of people contacting TB due to improper masks (I believe both the Trump Virus (covid-19) and Tuberculosis are airborne due to my experience with both).
I agree with you but I’ll qualify why I have N95 masks: I live in the Bay Area. This year’s fires consistently hit where I’m at harder than any other part of the Bay Area (at least according to Purple Air). Cloth masks don’t do a damn thing for wildfire smoke. I keep a box around the house now at all times because it sucks to go outside and have your lungs start burning after a couple minutes for three months out of the year.
I checked a couple different industrial suppliers and one is offering Moldex (not splash rated) for about $20/20 pk with an estimated lead time of 3-4 weeks. Another is offering to drop ship Kimberly Clark masks now, around $35 for a pack of twenty. To me it seems like availability is slowly catching up to demand. If you’re desperate to wear an N95 mask and are willing to use a mask with an exhalation valve (and then a reusable cloth mask or something over it) availability is even greater.
Obviously us plebes shouldn’t hoard PPE, but if you are going to buy N95 masks don’t patronize the price gougers like the one BB is promoting.
If you’re looking for cloth masks the LA Apparel (founded by the ex American Apparel creep) ones are pretty decent. So are the Kenneth Cole ones (but it’s harder for me to get a good fit with those).
I have to disagree with the requirement for fit testing when it comes to civilians and using N95s or other respirator grade masks instead of cloth masks.
Even imperfectly fitting N95s, KN95s, KF94s, FFP2s and other respirator-grade filtering face pieces are going to filter better than a cloth mask. So we should not be discouraging people from getting and using respirator-grade masks for lack of fit testing, something that is not available outside of work settings.
Since there are a number of readily available alternatives to the medical N95s, buying and using the alternatives does not take away N95s from frontline personnel.
Fit testing is critical for verifying the fit of respirator grade masks in hazardous work environments, where the mask has to work at its best efficiency or you just don’t go into the environment. This does not apply to civilians making a shopping run at Costco. They are going to be there with or without a respirator grade mask. So it’s better they have a respirator grade mask. Some masks might not fit perfectly but many or most will on average, and even those that don’t are still going to give better filtration even with some bypass than cloth masks.
Crude source control masks were a good start, but everyone is better off if we upgrade our masks to better fit and filtration that provides both PPE as well as source control. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of better when it comes to civilian masks for situations they are going to be in anyways, with or without respirator grade masks.
Elastometric masks, such as half face respirators available at hardware stores that take replaceable filter cartridges, generally offer better seal than filtering face piece respirators like N95. So if people want a better chance at a good seal since they can’t get fit tested, those are an option - but the exhalation valve will need to be covered with cloth or a procedural mask to meet source control mask standards, and people need to avoid cross contaminating the outside of the mask to the inside.
For a guide to alternatives to N95s, process engineer Aaron Collins has mask testing videos using a quantitative mask fit testing machine that does particle counting. He has a specialty in aerosol science, but not in medical science, so I trust his pronouncements on filtration, but not necessarily his opinions on the best ways to store masks and time frame for re-use.
Spoiler: Many KF94 masks from korea work really well and provide above N95 level filtration and he has both summary videos with the results for specific makes and models as well as full videos of him testing the individual masks (Results on Aaron Collins face. YMMV, because of individual fit of course.)
FYI folks, you can get these sturdy ones from Grainger (N95, no valve):
Not cheap, but multi-use. Just rotate them out. Super comfortable, and fits my face at least…
They’re the non-valved n95 that we were able to get when all production was going to human med folks and first responders etc…
you can disagree with me - many people have. I am not a filtration specialist. BUT out in the world most of us can exist without using an n95. We CAN get by with a cloth mask as long as we don and doff properly. Don’t touch your face (ever), wash your hands before and after don/doff. Rotate and CLEAN your masks. I had covid and it fucking sucks. I’ve also had ration an N95 masks due to global shortage (and this was prior to covid).
The problem is that increasingly we can’t, as infection rates sky rocket and the likelihood of infection in from aerosols in public rises.
Cloth masks (most but not all) help reduce droplet transmission at the source when many of respiratory droplets are larger and have yet to evaporate into smaller, harder to filter aerosol particles. But they don’t protect much, if at all, from inhaling aerosol particles. They are a stop gap measure because not enough N95s were available. But now we have alternatives such as KF94s and we should be using them instead of crude, marginally effective source control masks.
Both as individuals and as a community respirator-grade masks are beneficial and reduce transmission more than cloth masks.
There is no valid justification for discouraging people from using the better protection offered by N95 alternatives, protection that is better as PPE and better as source control.
Korea made sure that certified KF94 masks were available to everyone in the country, increasing and subsidizing production, distributing them to pharmacies and instituting quotas. The US has done squat by comparison, leaving people to fend for themselves, making near useless masks out of bandanas or trying to decide which unrated cloth mask is “better” without any objective testing data.
There’s a reason we have certification standards for masks, so that we can know which masks are effective rather than fending for ourselves with unrated masks that may be ineffective. We need to be switching the universal mask orders to recommending certified masks, even as we are starting the months or years long process to vaccinate the population. There is already a more virulent strain of Covid in the UK and we need all the help we can get in reducing transmission as much as possible.
When you go to Home Depot and check out for their “5-pack” of masks, they charge you $59 for shipping… So that turns the $4 / mask into $15.80 / mask. See the screen shot below:
Also, I did some research and you are right that SureWay Health and Brio Protection are the same company and they are duplicate websites. I reached out to the company about it and they said that the “Brio” and “Bio” names were crowded in the protective equipment space. They are a company located in Royal Oak, MI (outside of Detroit) and that their normal websites are
brioaudiocom and brio4lifecom.
They also confirmed that they do not manufacture any of their own products and are simply a distributor and most products are made by Shanghai Dasheng Health Products Manufacture Company, Ltd. like you said. If BoingBoing is promoting them, then I’d have to think they did some sort of vetting, so while it does seem a bit scammy, I think I’m going to order and then just return my order and do a chargeback if I don’t like it.
It wouldn’t let me post the links or pictures
a script pulls these items from StackCommerce Mark or other BB people will pull the bad stuff usually
Nope. Not even close.
Like many other popular websites, Boing Boing rents its name and reputation to a social media marketing and SEO company called Stack Social, which posts native advertising copy and content of its own choosing as BoingBoing Shop, without prior curation from BoingBoing, using BoingBoing’s content management system so that the posts look like 1st party content to search engines, to your ad blocker and to you. Boing Boing does remove some egregiously bad ads if notified after the fact.
I’m pretty impressed that you, someone who has never posted to BoingBoing before, went to the trouble to check this out and were able to contact the company early Sunday morning mere hours after my post and managed to get that level of detail from them. I’m so impressed that I’m inclined to believe that may be a company representative posting here in the guise of an interested potential customer.
Curiously, in spite of all that detail, you don’t address whether “brioaudiocom and brio4lifecom” fraudulently used the group photo of an actual mask making company, Stringking.
Lowe’s doesn’t currently offer mail order mail order of the DTC3X, likely to reduce hoarding of N95 masks.
You managed to select flat rate Truck Delivery from a local store, which is the price same regardless of quantity. The Michigan Madison Heights Lowe’s possibly near you has 34 boxes in stock you can buy in person for $4 per mask in 5 mask boxes.
Note that SureWay Heath/Brio’s pricing is so high that even a flat rate $59 Truck Delivery charge meant for pallets of goods would barely put the masks above the “discounted” $6.50 per mask price of your minimum 20 mask order, at $6.95 per mask, and Lowes’ Truck Delivery would actually be cheaper than Brio at higher quantities were Lowes to allow bulk purchases.
So don’t buy your masks from Home Depot. Inflated prices at Home Depot are still not a justification for charging or paying the larcenous prices that Shanghai Dasheng Health Products Manufacture Company and SureWay Health want.
Indeed. To those complaining of the cost of quality… there’s a specific material (nonwoven polypropylene fabric) that doesn’t (or didn’t for most of 2020) have wide production facilities in place: N95 mask shortage comes down to this key material: “The supply chain has gotten nuts” - CBS News
Boggles the mind how people wants to gamble their life by saving a few dozen dollars and shopping the lowest bidder.
All sounds about right. A couple of years ago I ‘fully’ checked out an item on Amazon since the seller was cagey when asked a couple of times by others as to the item’s origins. The maker was located in China, but with its mailing address being a fedex/kinko store in San Diego, with an Anglo name used as the owner.