Originally designed to filter air pollution for cyclists in urban areas, the G95 Bioscarf is a sustainable alternative to disposable face masks with a built-in filter that offers better protection against airborne particles than a standard N95-rated face mask.
An American couple came up with the idea after one of them became ill following a business trip to China. A doctors visit revealed that he had most likely got sick on the plane or from air pollution. So, they founded a startup and, in 2017, began sending free shipments to journalists covering the California wildfires.
The G95 filtration technology used in the Bioscarf works by combining a nano-fibre layer with spunbond and meltblown technologies. In a test by Nelson Labs, the material was shown to filter out 99.75% of all airborne particles 0.1 microns and larger. In comparison, standard N95-rated filters block out at least 95% of particles 0.3 microns and larger.
Dr David Corry, professor and chief of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine, reviewed the study. He concluded that “in a perfect set of conditions the Bioscarf will remove virtually any infectious organisms you can imagine.” Of course, ‘real world’ filter effectiveness depends on how the garment is worn - though, the same can be said for a standard mask.
As well as the Bioscarf, the company now produces a range of protective gear from its factory in Michigan, including a neck tube and a hoodie (which features a G95 filter in the hood).
Perhaps most impactful, G95 gear can be washed over 50 times before the filtration efficiency starts to decrease. In fact, they can be washed 100 times and still be rated the equivalent of an N95 because the filtration technology is, as the founder said: “like N95 on steroids”.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the company has also launched a reusable, washable face mask. Designed for healthcare workers, it features a rugged exterior fabric that is water-resistant and anti-bacterial and is less costly than the Bioscarf or Biogaiter - retailing for $25 (£20).
So, if you're looking for a sustainable and ultra-protective gear in these difficult times (or you plan cycling in heavily polluted cities), you may want to visit the G95 website and place an order.