September 11 Attacks: The Ground Zero Ten Year Anniversary is a Time to Prepare For the Future

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Breathe Safely, LLC honors the anniversary of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks and upon reflection, wants to announce there are certain things we can learn from the catastrophe. One simple, but effective strategy with a positive outcome, would be addressing the failure of respirator and masks (inward leakage) experienced by Ground Zero first responders and clean up workers.

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The Institute of Medicine under the recommendations of the Centers of Disease Control and Preventions report that individuals need to use masks with an airtight seal. - (CNNHealth - September 3, 2009)

Ron Matich, owner of Breathe Safely, LLC, owner of the the respirator seal and PPE seal technology, states, "First responders and clean up crews at Ground Zero face life long health ailments from inhaling toxic air particles and debris. Some have been diagnosed with severely diminished lung capacity." In fact, 35,980 people filed for worker's compensation from the World Trade Center incident, as stated by the New York Worker's Compensation Board.

Congress passed a $4.2 billion bill, the "James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act," to pay for health care and compensation of the World Trade Center clean up crews, first responders, and respirator trained workers. On November 10, 2010 a $657.5 million dollar settlement was reached for 10,000 of the first responders of the World Trade Center's Ground Zero.

Ron also states, "Many of the first responders wore a respirator. This has been documented. The law suit comes to life because of the failure of respirators or improper usage of respirators all together. The easiest problem to resolve in the future is addressing the fact that the respirator's worn did not have an air tight seal (inward leakage) to the emergency worker's faces."

First responders at Ground Zero were trained and tested to use the respirators properly. Due to the fact that the airflow went around the respirator medium, the debris and dust reached the lungs of the workers instead of being filtered through the respirator (inward leakage). For more on inward leakage see the two citation sources below.

A recent study from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene entitled, “Performance of an N95 Filtering Face-piece Particulate Respirator and a Surgical Mask During Human Breathing: Two Pathways for Particle Penetration," shows out of 75 participants wearing respirators and surgical masks, the leakage through the contact surface of the respirator to the face was an average of 5% with N95 respirators (best fit, fit test failures). Surgical masks shows an average rate of 40% leakage (best fit, fit test) and leakage appears no matter what size the particle is.

The study shows the compromises existing through a faulty facial seal, not the face mask or respirator medium. A medical grade adhesive seal; Breathe Safely™, already exists, and they would have made the extent of lung damage substantially less. This technology seals a respirator or masks to the users face, it uses a medical grade adhesive seal so that respirators and masks do not leak inward or outward at the face. After comprehensive testing of Breathe Safely™ seals, test participants felt 100% safer and 70% more comfortable wearing the seal.

Penetration of fatal pollutants and viruses take place around the edge of the respirator, mask, or personal protection equipment (PPE). This is tested and published by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a 2011 publication entitled, “Preventing Transmission of Pandemic Influenza and Other Viral Respiratory Disease” issued by the Institute of Medicine.

Ron also states, "The U.S. Government (tax payers) will continue paying law suits and medicare as the Ground Zero first responders, emergency workers, and daily respirator users health conditions progressively decline with age, as they did with asbestos, mesothelioma, and other harmful diseases brought on by toxic air. With this conclusion the US stockpile of respirator for catastrophes and disasters should have seals readily available, for maximum safety protection."

"During the next viral pandemic (like H1N1, but worse) is the same fate to doctors, nurses, hospital workers and emergency workers bound to happen," says the World Health Organization. As stated in the publication, “Preventing Transmission of Pandemic Influenza and Other Viral Respiratory Diseases: Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers Update 2010,” Page: 5-6; the respirator face-seal leakage is much greater than the filtration material on the respirator. Page: 79; 20 volunteers tested with five different face masks, all failed fit testing. Page 80; 6,160 trained health workers tested and 17% failed fit testing. With the Breathe Safely seal, the full capabilities of the respirator will finally be realized.

Grinshpun, Sergey A., Haruta, Hiroki, Eninger, Robert M., Reponen, Tiina, McKay, Roy T. and Lee, ShuAn(2009) 'Performance of an N95 Filtering Facepiece Particulate Respirator and a Surgical Mask During Human Breathing: Two Pathways for Particle Penetration',Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene,6:10,593 — 60
IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2011. 'Preventing Transmission of Pandemic Influenza and other Viral Respiratory Diseases: Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Personnel'—update 2010. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.


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Ron Matich
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