Wearing Masks Becomes the Norm Amid Fine Dust Concerns

  • english.chosun.com

    May 06, 2019 08:24

    Masks have become a fact of life for many Koreans in recent years amid concerns over high levels of ultrafine dust particles. But many people still do not use them, and of those that do, many don't use them properly.

    According to a recent survey of 1,000 adults by Yuhan-Kimberly, less than half used masks designed specifically for dust suppression, while 25 percent wore regular masks, which are ineffective in preventing dust, and 3.2 percent used cotton masks designed to keep warm. About 22.4 percent said they do not use masks at all.

    Ultrafine dust particles are so tiny that they are not filtered by nostril hair or respiratory cilia and can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing various respiratory diseases.

    People look through binoculars over the haze-blanketed Yeongjong Bridge in Incheon on Sunday. /Newsis

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10,000 people die every year of diseases caused by inhaling ultrafine dust such as heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, so it is never too late to get into the habit of wearing a mask for protection from polluted air.

    Many people tend to wear a mask outside and take it off in the bus or subway. However, it is not safe enough even in indoor areas and it is better to keep the mask on. Crowded places are likely to have a lot of ultrafine dust.

    But do not forget that masks are disposable for a reason – they should not be reused. The survey found that 62.2 percent of respondents reused masks more than once. Some even said they washed masks for reuse. But reusing a mask can bring more harm, as it is already contaminated by dust and germs, so be sure to throw it away once it is used.

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