Making HEPA Face Masks for Essential Workers

It is not typical for me to ask my friends and family for money.

I'm on a mission to self-manufacture and distribute HEPA face masks to essential workers and hospitals. This endeavor began as a final semester research project on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) though quickly changed course when I recognized that I have tools and the materials to help people. 

My HEPA face masks cost about $5 each to make, which just covers raw materials. I'm on track to make about 12 masks a week but I'm running low on materials and money to purchase more materials.

I'm seeking any help that you might be able to provide. 

Thank you,

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- Project Background -

I had an opportunity to choose a topic for my final project last semester.

I decided to reach out to some friends and family who are essential workers and ask them questions about their occupational experiences during the pandemic. Their responses reflected a grim reality: many essential workers do not have access to adequate respiratory PPE (RPE).

I saw this as an opportunity and realized that there were many directions I could pursue. I decided to focus on designing a solution that I could self-manufacture and distribute.

I knew it was crucial to familiarize myself with RPE and also to understand their functional characteristics. I soon learned there are two key factors to RPE: filtration and seal. It was now my mission to source materials that exhibit excellent filtration and are safe for people to use.

I discovered HEPA vacuum filter bags that filter up to 99.9% of pathogens. The bags I’ve sourced use 5-layers of dense paper and cloth. Note: they do not contain fiberglass.

I reached a design that lends itself toward a procedural mask, although in contrast, is designed to be worn tightly around the face to provide a more adequate seal.

I’m very excited to share that I’ve been donating these masks to essential workers and local hospitals.



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Florin Handelman 
Hinsdale, NH
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