Surgical masks for Bengaluru traffic cops substandard

Surgical masks for Bengaluru traffic cops substandard

Surgical masks for Bengaluru traffic cops substandard

The surgical masks cannot filter particulate matter in the air.

"We provide the surgical masks every year to the traffic policemen, but the masks are of no use," said Additional Commissioner of Police R Hithendra.

He added that even if a mask with better quality is provided, the policemen on duty are unable to use it.

They will have to use the whistle and give instructions to the public, which means they will have to remove the mask every time.

"The alternative is to depute them in other departments on a rotational basis," said Hithendra.

"Surgical masks do not give 100% immunity. Particulate matter and toxic gases can pass through them causing cardiovascular diseases," said Dr C N Manjunath, director, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research.

"Vehicular exhausts within the air may be of sizes 2.5 mm or below which a surgical mask cannot filter," said Manjunath.

Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, director of respiratory medicine, Fortis Hospital, said that air pollution can cause lung problems, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

Padegal said that the masks that are available in the market are not effective.

The N95 masks - an internationally certified mask that resists 95% particulate matter - are the ones that come close to protection from particulate matter, Padegal added.

Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said he was unaware of the kind of masks used by the traffic policemen. The minister said he will talk to the officials concerned and take a decision.

Some buy their own  

"I bought a mask for myself. The ones given by the department is of no use," said a constable manning a busy traffic junction.

Without removing the mask, he explained that the two circular knob-like structures help  him exhale.

The mask had two layers, inner white layer protects people from most of the dust that seeps through the mask after being filtered by an outer layer which had tiny holes in it.

"We work around 8 to 10 hours a day. How can we expect not to be affected by pollution?" he said.

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