The Bioscarf: A big scarf with a built-in N95 filter
By Christopher Nyerges
[Nyerges is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Foraging California,” “Extreme Simplicity,” and other books. He has been leading survival classes since 1974. More information at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com]
Weight: 19.4 oz
Width: 84 inches
Length: 9 inches
Material: 100% polyester that is made from recycled PET water bottles and recycled PVC
I recently had the opportunity to test something called the “bioscarf.” Yes, it’s a scarf, and everyone knows I like scarfs. I’ve worn them all my life. I used to love alpaca wool scarves, and find their comfort impeccable. But then I was given a Polartech scarf, which is a polyester product that strives to duplicate wool without any itching or scratching. I have come to prefer my Polartech scarves, which are also easy to clean and dry.
I like long scarves too, but not the very long scarves that really get in the way. I cannot get the story of the famous dancer Isadora Duncan out of my mind, who loved very very long silk scarves, and she enjoyed wearing them in her convertible. She was 50 years old at the time, she was driving one day in September, 1927 in Nice, France, and her enormously-long scarf got caught in the rear hubcabs of her car! It was a ghastly accident and she was strangled to death. When you read about Duncan, you’d think her great legacy is that she had a famous dancing career, but the first think you read about is that she was strangled to death by her scarf. Well, I don’t drive a convertible and I cannot imagine wearing a scarf that must have been 10 or 12 feet long, or longer!
Anyway, the bioscarf that I had the opportunity to use and test actually measures in at seven feet long, and 9 inches wide. That’s big, but not too big to get caught in your car’s or motorcycle’s wheels. Bicyclists should be careful though.
I like its size. It’s long, but not quite too long. You have enough scarf to know you’re wearing a scarf and not forget it. It comes in white, olive, black, and camo, and since I had the choice of color, I couldn’t resist the camo. But its main selling point is not the size – it’s what’s hidden inside the fabric.
Bioscarf is actually a stylish air mask that keeps your neck and head cozy while filtering out unwanted air contaminants, germs, second hand smoke, pollen and other allergens. This can protect you from colds, flus, pneumonia, tuberculosis and allergens. Bioscarf is the first scarf with an N95 air filter layer built right into the inner layer of the scarf.
When tested by Nelson Labs against normal masks and respirators, the bioscarf outperformed some of the most popular masks available today with a 99.75% average filtration efficiency. In addition to doing its job effectively, the bioscarf is made from sustainable materials. Post-consumer recycled PET water bottles go into the fabric, while the signature labels are made from recycled PVC. It is also built to be long lasting and reusable, meaning less disposable air filters in the landfill. And this filter is reusable – just wash the scarf by hand from time to time after use.
So, if you’re in a situation where you might otherwise put on a face mask, you can just wrap the scarf over your mouth and nose, and breathe through it. Maybe you’re an allergy sufferer, visiting somewhere with poor air quality, on you’re on a bus or plane where everyone is sneezing and coughing. Maybe you’re on a campout and the smoke from the campfire is excessive. Bioscarf will give you some protection.
I like the multi-use aspect of the bioscarf, and when I’m wearing mine, it gives me the feeling of being protected, as if I’m living in a Mad Max, Book of Eli, or Bladerunner, world. Of course, that’s a crazy idea, since everyone in those futuristic dystopian societies would probably be wearing rags. Still, the bioscarf is one of those multi-purpose garments that you’ll be glad you purchased. It’s functional, and provides a layer of protection that other scarves just don’t provide.
They run about $45, and are available at eartheasy.com, or Amazon.
I’ve had the opportunity to wear this scarf in cold weather, and found it to be a bit warmer than a comparable scarf. This is probably because it’s not just a single layer of fabric, but actually 3 layers. The scarf is not thick however, and it has the comfortable feel of a “normal” scarf. The length is a bit longer than most scarves, and so you have just a bit more fabric that you can wrap around your neck, or your face.
Washing Instructions: Hand wash only