Demand, price of dust masks shoot up

By: Vanessa Claire Lucero October 27,2015 - 01:45 AM

PRICES of N95 dust masks, the kind used by cancer patients and industrial workers, shot up in Cebu after environment officials recommended their use over the weekend for self-protection against haze.

The price nearly doubled to P105 per piece from P55 each, said Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak based on a report of Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council personnel.

No report of price increases has reached the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) though.

Out of 18 drugstores inspected yesterday, only three were selling N95 masks and they had no no price increase, said Zaide Bation, DTI Cebu head of consumer welfare and business regulation division.

He said they checked Mercury (P100 apiece), Machealth Depot (P95) and Universe (P75). The price depends on the brand and specifications.

At medical supplier Berovan Marketing, sales clerk Judith Obera said the demand for N95 masks went up, but their store prices remained at P90 each.

“A lot of people have been asking for N95 masks. We’ve run out of stock. We’re still waiting for replenishment,” she said in Cebuano.

Ordinary disposable face masks are much cheaper at P2.40 and still available, she said.

But the EMB earlier said ordinary medical face masks are not effective against haze. N95 industrial dust masks have filters and fit more closely around the nose and mouth.

This early, Dr. Expedito Medalla, Department of Health regional health emergency management service coordinator, said he has no documented cases of respiratory ailments so far in Cebu that is blamed on the haze.

Haze which is a condition of reduced visibility caused by particles in the air, including smoke, dust, and dirt, can cause asthma attacks, acute bronchitis and other respiratory problems, among vulnerable groups,DOH officials said.

Those prone to sinusitis and allergic rhinitis may develop nasal congestion, sore throat and cough.

The pollutants could also cause eye, nose and throat irritation.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Department of Trade and Industry, haze, Metro Cebu, N95 mask

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