Looked at an article about wearing masks in the event of a major flu outbreak and decided to do a little research on CDC recomendations. I get a lot of good info from the CDC but I must say I'm disappointed at the info I got on using a dust mask for flu protection. Here's the Guidlines?
Now they classify a paper dust mask like those used in construction as a respirator. Let me tell you there's no way in hell you can call these things a respirator. A respirator requires a face to mask seal and a fit test.Check here
There are two types of fit tests to determine the fit of a particular user. One uses an irritant smoke to check for leaks around the nose, cheeks and chin. The other uses a machine to test the actual difference in outside air and air inside the mask called fit factor. A dust mask would not protect against the irritant smoke and there is no way to get a reading from the machine as it requires an impremeable seal around the nose and mouth. So I can only assume somebody is going to make a ton of money producting these masks and selling the fear of a flu outbreak with reminders of the swine flu nearly 100 years ago. Would I wear a dust mask for such an event? Not on your life. I've used them twice for dealing with fiberglass insulation and both times they didn't work.