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Mission

FitTestThePlanet/TestThePlanet is an independent volunteer group. We do for face masks what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) does for vehicle crash testing: emphatically independent real-world testing with difficulties calibrated to identify current advances in safety and resilience, rather than just minimum standards.

A force against "force-fitting"

Disposable respirator technology has been advancing in recent decades. However, occupational test protocols have not increased their difficulty enough to accurately sort the most protective disposable masks on the population scale. In fact, the difficulty has often been lowered as there is no incentive structure pushing these forward. QNFT facilities are incentivized to test more customers with fewer repeated tests, and this has led to a generally high false pass rates worldwide - the protocols have not kept pace to identify reliable disposable designs at scale. "Force-Fitting" or retesting a mask until it passes has been all too common in the past, and is something we stand against.

For new condensing particle counter volunteers, we send out Welcome Kits with probe installers, power adapter, probes, and whatever may have been missing in the volunteer’s CPC machine purchase. These are intended to lower the barrier to entry to CPC ownership, as the probe installers are in essence historically overpriced staplers. 

 

FitTestThePlanet is a long term project by three volunteers using their personal expenses and Patreon donations from fans since 2022. In May 2024 we were awarded a 1-year $100,000 grant by Kanro to support the purchase of more testing supplies and respirators to volunteers.

We do not require donations or payments by any volunteers. If grants are not available in the future, we would continue to refine our methods and survey the landscape of designs at a steadier pace. Industry changes happen on the scale of 5 to 10 years, so gradual activity over decades is preferable to sudden bursts of test surveying. In other words, $100 per year for 5 years goes a longer way to helping us than $500 over 1 year.


We buy masks at scale, for our own tests, and for survey kits.

To avoid manufacturers knowingly sending their best samples to us(sometimes non-representative) we do not test masks gifted by manufacturers. We surprise purchase masks that are widely used by either the public or within specialized worker niches. This is why we are often late on "New Releases". We are not influencers.

By the time we gather enough results to have confidence in a product's likely chance of being useful, the mask seller has often long moved on to marketing some other product. This is an unfortunate downside of keeping distance from manufacturers but one we don't yet have a solution to.

 

We buy mask specimens from the open market and log the lot numbers and associated data. If necessary, we may pay people outside the tester group to purchase hard-to-find specimens for broader testing in the population. We serialize the specimens and we send them to contributors/surveyors.

All participants are anonymous and start as contributors. After having found adequate masks for themselves, contributors may volunteer to be Surveyors - taking on the responsibility of the boring, repetitive and critically important work serving public interest. 

We aim to proliferate access to condensing particle counters in the maker/citizen scientist community, while encouraging more challenging tests with measured jaw motion. This pushes the industry forward in ways minimum standards requirements can't.

 

We do this to:
Promote aerosol monitoring for all applications, including indoor air quality monitoring.

Insulate aerosol monitoring and mask efficacy tests from conflicts of interest and regulatory capture. 

Allow publics around the world to view large-scale and high-quality public domain data for widely available masks in common use, tested against a diverse population, on smaller and larger head sizes than conventional panels are limited to, and updating in real time. 

There is no end date on the project.
 

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