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Outdoor sports – from all-terrain vehicles and dirt bike racing to hunting, skiing, running and snowmobiling – are popular across all age groups. There are approximately 300,000 registered 4-wheelers in Minnesota alone. People love the thrill! But did you know that something as common as inhaling dust, fumes or even just really cold air can be dangerous?
“Your lungs are susceptible to airborne particles. Anything you breathe in has a direct pathway to inside your body,” cautions outdoor enthusiast and entrepreneur Steve Torbenson who has been riding everything from mini-bikes to go-karts since he was a kid. “People assume cheap dust masks or wet bandanas trap most of the harmful particles, but they can’t do the job as effectively as a mask that uses a N99 carbon-activated filter.”
After seeing his children’s faces blackened by dust after a day of riding, Torbenson decided to make lung protection his biggest priority. “Dust is one of the biggest problems encountered by outdoor sports enthusiasts. People who enjoy dirt bikes, ATVs, etc. often wind up covered with grime – and they are still coughing it up several days later. Likewise, NASCAR enthusiasts hate breathing in car exhaust. Runners often battle high pollen counts. Air quality is a recurring issue among athletes and spectators alike.
“That’s why the neoprene RZ Mask is such a hot item. It has N99 carbon-activated, replaceable filters that filter out 99.9 percent of all airborne particles (both gasses and solids), it is comfortable and sporty, and it fits easily inside a helmet.”
Reversing the mask’s exhaust discharge valves blocks the wearer’s scent, which can be crucial for hunters. “Hunters may spend as much as $1,000 in scent-masking apparel but until now, they have missed this one big source of human odor – our breath.”
Torbenson began importing the RZ Mask more than two years ago, and says winter is a prime time for mask usage because breathing cold air can be hazardous. “Cold air can be hard on lungs, especially for seniors and those who suffer from asthma or COPD. It can irritate your airway causing the muscles around your airway to contract and making it harder to breathe. Also, breathing cold air into your lungs can cause you to lose up to 35 percent of your body core temperature, increasing your chances of getting the flu or a cold.”
People who use the RZ Mask can breathe air that is as much as 75 degrees warmer, increasing their safety as they enjoy outdoor activities in colder climates.” And because of its specially designed discharge valves, the mask will not fog eyeglasses.
These comfortable hand-washable masks with Velcro straps, which come in a variety of colors from camouflage to pink, also are gaining popularity among those working in agriculture. Farmers, for example, now favor them when working around dusty grain bins. The masks also filter out toxic and hazardous fumes and odors generated by cattle, sheep, horses, poultry and pigs as well as pollen, pesticides and fertilizers.
“I’m proud to be personally involved with helping farmers, ranchers as well as outdoor athletes and spectators protect their health,” says Torbenson. Other precautions that he lives by include:
● Slow down when sight lines are poor. “For example, cross streams only at designated fording points, where the trail crosses the stream.”
● Comply with all signs and respect barriers. “Venture into areas designated as off-limits can be disastrous.”
● Wear a mask that protects your lungs. “RZ Masks are versatile enough to use for any kind of outdoor sport.”
● Buddy up. “This reduces your vulnerability if you have an accident or breakdown. Designate meeting areas in case of separation.”
● Use common sense. This final safety tip is by far the best. Common sense can take you far, especially when it involves your safety.
“Our goal is to provide the best protection we can to combat these pollutants for everyday use as well as sports. RZ Masks will allow you to enjoy your favorite activities without jeopardizing your health.”
Biography – Steve Torbenson
Steve Torbenson is owner of RZ Mask, LLC. His life-long love of riding began at age 5 when his parents bought him a mini bike. At age seven, his parents bought him a Honda 50, his younger brother got the mini bike, and together they rode every weekend at the family’s cabin in southern Minnesota. The brothers also enjoyed riding go-karts and water skiing. As the boys grew, so did their motorcycles. At 14, Steve was riding a Yamaha 125 . That same year, his parents bought a hobby farm where his dad built a motocross track. The boys and their friends would ride from sunrise to sunset.
Although he truly loved this sport, even in his early years Steve hated the dust. Once he was married and had four boys of his own, the cycle started over. Like their dad, the boys all started riding around age five. About that same time, Steve was buying, repairing and selling homes – loving every aspect of his career except the dust.
After months of research, he finally found the perfect sport/dust mask – the RZ Mask – which he began selling in May 2010. The masks now sell worldwide including Australia, Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Canada and soldiers in Afghanistan.
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