Sunday, March 12, 2006

Masking the Effects of Bird Flu

Any rumoured story of an impending epidemic is manna from heaven for the alternative brigade. Sell your magic products before the illness strikes and everyone stays happy, since no one cares if they're effective or ineffective.

For those worried about bird flu, masks are the answer. While this site calls itself "Bird Flu Facts" it strangely talks about a non-existent bird flu "vaccine". It also has a sideline in Amazing Leaps of Logic:
One way to protect ourselves and if one does work closely with birds is to get a bird flu mask. It may sound like another gimmick plan to create money. But what have you got to lose aside from a few bucks, compared to bigger health risks?

Umm, a "few" bucks at the very least. And yes, it does sound like a gimmick plan to create money (or at least aid in the transfer of money) - where are the published studies and the scientific data? At least this Magic Mask has Amazing Scientific Powers, such as
2H Technology Plus Features. It is a filter that has been patented to consistently achieve higher levels of performance. It utilizes nanotechnology that enhances the filter media to remove the bacteria and virus from the inhaled and exhaled air we breathe.

From the exhaled air? Isn't it too late then? Isn't the virus in the body?
This mask is the first to use nanotechnology to enhance the filter media. This mask effectively isolates and destroys the bacterial and viral contaminants. The nano-particles also enhance the intrinsic filtration efficiency. It is achieved by making the media destructive absorbents that kill the bacteria and virus that come in contact.

Virus-killing nanotechnology! But never mind the unspecified "technology", this site really knows where its demographic lies:
If you are also a trendy farm worker, the bird flu mask comes in different colors as well.

EoR agrees with the manufacturer that
ignorance could have fatal consequences.

While Flu Pharmacy at least ackowledges that there is no such thing as a bird flu vaccine, it still makes some amazing (and, strangely, different) claims about the Nano Mask:
Your first line of defense should be a NanoMask® because it kills ALL Bird Flu on contact.

Wow! Shouldn't we be putting these masks on chickens and ducks? Then the virus would be killed off before it had time to spread!

While news sites tend to be gullible consumers of press releases about miracle cures, this site provides some background and balance:
A few years back during the SARS outbreak, the Nano-Mask was very popular. Now with the Bird Flu scare, this company is once again scrambling. [...] It's a risk reducer. It won't solve the Bird Flu problem but some are finding that it provides peace of mind.

So the product is not specifically for bird flu, and fear and hysteria are a large part of the marketing campaign. What its super-enhanced ultra-powerful nanotechnology actually seems to do is "provide peace of mind". EoR agrees that a face mask, particularly for those working directly with poultry, is a good risk reducer. Masks do not kill bird flu. Good hygiene and bird handling procedures are at least as important. In fact, masks might increase the risk:
The scientists, speaking at a briefing at the science media centre, warned also of the potential dangers of face masks. Virus particles can collect on the outside and be transferred to the hands when the mask is removed.

The whole Guardian article is worth reading for a look at how alternative therapists are using the bird flu scare (EoR points out that this is a totally different thing from the possibility of a bird flu pandemic - it's a marketing imperative as opposed to a scientific possibility) to market all sorts of wacky and unproven products.
But scientists said yesterday none of the complementary medicines had been proved to work against the virus. Some are sold on the basis of their capacity to boost the immune system, which fights off infections. But, said Ron Cutler of the School of Biosciences, University of East London, that is the last thing a patient with avian flu needs because the virus sends the immune system into overdrive. "H5N1 stimulates the immune system. It fills your lungs up with blood and you die," he said.

EoR expects some alternatista site to shortly be selling H5N1 Technology® as an "immune system booster".


  1. Emergency Filtration Products Reports Successful Test Results Against H9N2 Avian Influenza Strain
    Thursday May 25, 2:00 pm ET

    HENDERSON, Nev.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 25, 2006--Emergency Filtration Products Inc. (EFP) (OTCBB: EMFP - News) today reported that it had received results from an established, BSL-3 (Bio - Safety Level 3) independent testing laboratory that a custom-engineered nanomaterial formulation, licensed to EFP, completely inactivated the H9N2 strain of avian influenza within one minute. The Virucidal Efficacy Test involved a titer of virus with a concentration greater than 6 logs.

    "The virus tested was of a higher concentration than typically used in this type of challenge," said Douglas K. Beplate, president and CEO, EFP. "An expanded and ongoing testing program of this formulation, and possibly of additional custom-engineered nanomaterials, will be conducted against H9N2 and other pathogens in the coming months."

    About Emergency Filtration Products (

    EFP is an air filtration products manufacturer whose patented 2H Technology(TM) filter system has produced filtration efficiencies of "greater than 99.99%" at a particulate size of 0.027 microns. Its initial products were developed for the medical market: the Vapor Isolation Valve(TM) and RespAide® CPR Isolation Mask used for resuscitation of respiratory/cardiac arrest cases; and the 2H Breathing Circuit Filter for ventilators, respirators and anesthesia circuitry. Each has received FDA approval. The company also markets an Automated External Defibrillator Prep Kit featuring RespAide; and the NanoMask®, a nanotechnology enhanced environmental mask. In addition to filtration products, the company supplies Superstat®, a modified hemostatic collagen, to the U.S. military for surgery and extreme wound care.

    Safe Harbor Statement

    This release may contain statements that are forward looking. Such statements are made based upon current expectations that are subject to risk and uncertainty. EFP does not undertake to update forward-looking statements in this news release to reflect actual results of and changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such forward-looking information. Specifically, as stated above, the announced testing results are part of an ongoing testing program and will need to be confirmed by additional expanded testing currently taking place. Regardless of the results of future tests, the company's sales may be dependent on the success of future marketing campaigns, the results of existing distribution agreements, and both the perceived need for EFP's products and the competitive performance of such products in the marketplace.

    Emergency Filtration Products Inc., Henderson
    Douglas K. Beplate, 702-558-5164
    Fax: 702-567-1893
    PAN Consultants Ltd. (Investor Relations)
    Philippe Niemetz, 800-477-7570, 212-344-6464
    Fax: 212-6181276

    Source: Emergency Filtration Products Inc.

  2. Well, if EoR wasn't such a trusting donkey, he'd think anonymous was just posting cut and paste commercial spam. Oh, hang on. anonymous is doing just that. What's the point of pushing how well masks can prevent H9N2? Did anyone even mention this particularly non-virulent, non-fatal virus? provides some (independent, noncommercial) information. You don't need masks for H9N2, just a lie down and a rest. And EoR presumes that "safe harbour statement" just means the whole news release is an advertorial containing few if any facts.

    Thank you for wasting everyone's time.

  3. You can't get the H5N1, the virus tested has the same basic make up, so testing against this strain is considered the same as testng against the H5N1...

    This is the 3rd generation mask, people need to understand that they do have a option to protect themselves.


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