What are the different types of respirators?
Dust Masks and Respirators are considered essential protective equipment in many industries where excessive dust and air particles can seriously damage workers' lungs and respiratory system. Irregardless of your choice of protection, always choose an NIOSH approved respirator or dust mask suitable for your environmental hazard. Respirators and face masks both play the same role of protecting the wearer from liquid and airborne particles from contaminating their face. A surgical mask is not a suitable replacement for a respirator.
With the onset of COVID-19, there were widespread shortages of N95 masks. Medical professionals who manage respiratory issues in healthcare institutions use respirators to protect themselves from infectious illnesses. Whereas manufacturers, contractors, and cleanrooms use respiratory protection in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Protecting your health is the aim of the guidelines. Ensure your application has the proper degree of protection by choosing the right respirator.
Respiratory protection must be suited to the environment that relates to its use. That simple dust mask used to woodworking will not provide protection against paint fumes. And, when painting with oil it is important to ensure your filter is rated P, so as to be resistant to oil. No matter the mask or rating, the fit must be secure. Typically, an N95 is easier to wear comfortably, whereas a R99 or P99 increases breathing fatigue due to the higher degree of filtration.
Disposable respirators are designed to protect from airborne contaminants. Wearing a Disposable Respirator is an effective and cost-effective technique to protect against harmful contaminants and pathogens that can cause serious health issues.
People working in dusty areas or other non-hazardous areas usually wear dust masks as directed by their supervisors or management. Some dust masks can be washed and reused, while others have disposable filters. Again, dust masks are not PPE, they are not necessities like surgical face masks or disposable respirators. Dust Masks filter dust particles and are generally mandatory in work environments where harmful flying particles are in abundance.
Reusable respirators protect workers from their environmental hazards. Get dependable respiratory protection that is convenient at lower cost than disposables in the long run. Less Waste! Ideal for jobs that require lung protection on a constant basis. Reuse the same respirator and replace the cartridge.
Respirators are rated by the type of contaminants and how much they filter out. Each rating has a letter (N) and number (95). The numbers refer to the percentage of one-micrometer particles removed during trials.
R95 Masks are suitable for eight hours of exposure to oil-based contamination. Whereas a P95 mask can last up to forty hours due to its stronger oil resistance. Oil based contaminants are common in fields that spray with paint and pesticides. The safety material on your hazard will inform you as to whether you need a P95, R95, or N95 mask.
N95 Masks are effective against preventing the spread of covid-19, swine flu, avian flu, and common flu viruses. a 3M 8210 N95 Mask fit over the nose and mouth without the more taxing filtration of reusable respirator masks. Regardless, the edges are designed to fit snugly to prevent air leakage.
Reusable respirators surpass the filtration abilities of disposable masks, because cartridges can filter organic vapors such as tear gas. Reusable respirators can be stored for years when left unopened. Properly cared for masks can last years as well, but should be replaced immediately once a tight seal for no loner be kept.
Filters and cartridges are used with reusable half and full face respirators. Reusable respirators provide a more secure fit for the user.
Ensure that filters and cartridges are changed when needed. High risk environments should take caution and change filters frequently.
- When breathing becomes difficult and uncomfortable
- You start to smell any pollutants
- The filter has been damaged in any way
- You can smell or taste contaminants;
- It is past the expiry date
- They have been out of the original packaging for 6 months or more
United States NIOSH standards define the following categories of particulate filters:
|Not oil resistant||N95||Filters at least 95% of airborne particles|
|N99||Filters at least 99% of airborne particles|
|N100||Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles|
|Oil Resistant||R95||Filters at least 95% of airborne particles|
|R99||Filters at least 99% of airborne particles|
|R100||Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles|
|Oil Proof||P95||Filters at least 95% of airborne particles|
|P99||Filters at least 99% of airborne particles|
|P100||Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles|
Example Particle Sizes
|Anthrax||1 - 5|
|Asbestos||0.7 - 90|
|Atmospheric Dust||0.001 - 40|
|Bacteria||0.3 - 60|
|Beach Sand||100 - 10000|
|Bone Dust||3 - 300|
|Bromine||0.1 - 0.7|
|Copier Toner||0.5 - 15|
|Corn Starch||0.1 - 0.8|
|Fiberglass Insulation||1 - 1000|
|Lead||0.1 - 0.7|
|Metallurgical Dust||0.1 - 1000|
|Mold Spores||10 - 30|
|Oil Smoke||0.03 - 1|
|Pesticides & Herbicides||0.001|
|Radioactive Fallout||0.1 - 10|
|Red Blood Cells||5 - 10|
|Saw Dust||30 - 600|
|Smoke from Natural Materials||0.01 - 0.1|
|Smoke from Synthetic Materials||1 - 50|
|Spores||3 - 40|
|Sugars||0.0008 - 0.005|
|Tobacco Smoke||0.01 - 4|
|Typical Atmospheric Dust||0.001 to 30|
Engineering ToolBox, (2005). Particle Sizes. [online] Available at: https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/particle-sizes-d_934.html [10 May 2021]
Where to buy respiratory protection?
To help you overcome occupational hazards, Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies offers a range of Full Face, Half Face, Reusable Respirators, and n95 masks for sale. Our product specialists can fit the respirator to your application and ensure your safety. Check out our comprehensive range of Disposable and Reusable Respirators and Dust Masks: Anyone who is exposed to harmful dust, fumes, gases, vapors, or infectious diseases must wear safety equipment to mitigate the damage these elements can inflict. We have made things easier for you by providing high-quality safety equipment for a number of occupational applications. Whether you are a painter or refinisher, make sure you are using respirator mask to stay protected against hazardous materials.
Place your order now at (800) 899-1255 and get superior quality masks at your doorstep.