When Joe Moore, president and CEO of First Defense Nasal Screens had a severe allergy attack while driving on the highway, he was sneezing so much that he was almost in an accident with a semi trailer. Fortunately, he was able to safely drive to the side of the road. When he pulled over, he noticed dust particles in the sunlight and a light bulb went off. He decided right then that he was going to create a nasal screen for allergies.
After conducting research and making prototypes, Mr. Moore developed a polypropylene filter with an adhesive called First Defense Nasal Screens.
"The screens come in resealable foil packages. You just peel and stick it on the outer nose. It's not inserted into the nose. It's designed to cradle and seal around the rim of the nose without going in the nose. The polypropylene is compressed in a way so that when you breathe out, it will clean itself and when you breathe in, nothing can get through. It's like a band-aid. It's simple and so light. It is designed so that when you breath in and out it flexes with your breathing. It's like an extra piece of skin. It's like putting a piece of skin over the end of the nose that filters the air," said Mr. Moore.
Mr. Moore said that the advantage of using polypropylene for his product is its breathability. It is also nonirritating so the filter can be worn all day long, he said.
"Through research and development we found it is less irritable as far as reactions. We can't give somebody a skin allergy while they are trying to prevent an airborne allergy. It was one of the softest and most receptive products we could find. There's no irritation and it's easy to work with," said Mr. Moore.
Mr. Moore selected Marian as a manufacturer because of its extensive experience working with polypropylene.
"I started with one strip. We've been through seven different adhesives, several different thicknesses and different configurations of nonwovens and polypropylene to get it to where it is.We make our own adhesive. It's latex free, hypoallergenic and it has been animal tested. You can wear the filter all day long."
Emphasizing that up to 50% of the population has some type of allergy, Mr. Moore said his product also answers the call for people who are involved in natural disasters, such as the recent earthquake in Japan, that result in air quality problems. The product can also be used by people who want to prevent getting viruses on airplanes, according to Mr. Moore.
"We have people who use it for anything they don't want to breathe in. We haven't gone into different sizes because you can adjust them on the side or in the front. They are very light. They weigh less than one half of one half of a gram," he said.
When queried whether people can use the filters at night while asleep, Mr. Moore said that a University of Florida study found that 80% of women who wore them at night had a 96% reduction of allergy systems by the second day of use.
First Defense Nasal Screens are sold on the company's website, on Amazon.com and Ocelco, a medical supply company. "We're also doing international contracts. We have an $8 million contract with the United Arab Emirates. We also have a $7.5 million five year contract with Nigeria."
So, how much do you have to plunk down for First Defense Nasal Screens? The price is $9.98 for a weeks' supply.
While the market has been receptive to Mr. Moore's nonwoven filters, his success has not been without its challenges. When he trademarked the filters he called them Cleanose. He was sued by a company that was selling a product called Cleanoz. Instead of wasting time and money he decided to change his product's name, even though he felt he could win the lawsuit.
"I brainstormed and it came to me. My whole idea is that medicine treats (something). We can defend ourselves. Why not have this as your first defense?The whole idea is that you don't have to take a medicine. We need to start filtering our air," said Mr. Moore.
Finally, Mr. Moore said he is seeking three more patents on different variations of his filter. "R&D will be about a quarter of our focus at all times," he said.