A respirator is a device designed to protect the wearer from inhaling hazardous atmospheres, including fumesvapoursgases and particulate matter such as dusts and airborne microorganisms. There are two main categories: the air-purifying respiratorin which respirable air is obtained by filtering a contaminated atmosphere, and the air-supplied respiratorin which an alternate supply of breathable air is delivered.
Within each category, different techniques are employed to reduce or eliminate noxious airborne contaminants. Air-purifying respirators range from relatively inexpensive single-use, disposable face masks sometimes referred to as a dust mask to more robust reusable models with replaceable cartridges often called a gas mask. All respirators have some type of facepiece held to the wearer's head with straps, a cloth harness, or some other method.
Facepieces come in many different styles and sizes, to accommodate all types of face shapes. The differences in respirator design impact the respirator assigned protection factorsi. There are three categories of particulate respirators: particulate-filtering facepiece respirators are discarded when they become unsuitable for further use due to considerations of hygiene, excessive resistance, or physical damage; elastomeric respirators are reusable because the facepiece is cleaned and reused, but the filter cartridges are discarded and replaced when they become unsuitable for further use; and powered air-purifying respirators have a battery-powered blower that moves the airflow through the filters.
Respirators can have half-face forms that cover the bottom half of the face including the nose and mouth, and full-face forms that cover the entire face. Half-face respirators should only be worn in environments where the contaminants are not toxic to the eyes or facial area. For example, someone who is spray painting could wear a half-face respirator, but someone who works with chlorine gas would have to wear a full-face respirator.
Most types of respirators depend upon forming a good seal between the respirator body and the face of the wearer. Fit testing procedures have been developed to ensure that the respirator is appropriate for the wearer and the wearer's donning technique is capable of creating an adequate seal.
Qualitative fit testing typically subjects the wearer to an atmosphere containing an aerosol that can be detected by the wearer, such as saccharin or isoamyl acetatewith the wearer reporting whether detectable levels of the aerosol has penetrated into the breathing area.
Quantitative fit testing typically uses a specially prepared respirator with an inserted probe. The respirator is donned, and aerosol concentrations inside and outside of the mask are compared and used to determine a numerical fit factor.
Typical room atmosphere contains sufficient particulates to perform the test, but aerosol generators can be used to improve the test accuracy. Department of Labor study  showed that in almost 40 thousand American enterprises, the requirements for the correct use of respirators are not always met.
Experts note that in practice it is difficult to achieve elimination of occupational morbidity with the help of respirators:. It is well known how ineffective Unfortunately, the only certain way of reducing the exceedance fraction to zero is to ensure that Co note: Co - concentration of pollutants in the breathing zone never exceeds the PEL value. The very limited field tests of air-purifying respirator performance in the workplace show that respirators may perform far less well under actual use conditions than is indicated by laboratory fit factors.
We are not yet able to predict the level of protection accurately; it will vary from person to person, and it may also vary from one use to the next for the same individual. In contrast, we can predict the effectiveness of engineering controlsand we can monitor their performance with commercially available state-of-the-art devices. A surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment.
If worn properly, a surgical mask is meant to help block large-particle dropletssplashes, sprays, or splatter that may contain viruses and bacteria.
Respirator Ratings – N95, FFP2, KF94 and More
When choosing a respirator it's important to understand that as the letter rating and number rating increase, breathing fatigue will increase. While you certainly don't want to choose a rating that is too low, you don't necessarily always want to pick a P filter for every application - particularly if you're just looking for a simple dust mask to do home improvement work.
Typically, an end user will find an N95 respirator cooler, and easier to breath through than a P99 or P95 dust mask. Quite simply, a respirator with a rating of P, has been tested to be proof against oil, and tested to filter To the right you can see various examples of the size in microns of various substances for comparison. Most commonly used for Flu or Influenza prevention, these masks are effective according to the CDC in helping to prevent the spread of Flu, swine flu and avian flu transmission from person to person.
N95 masks are designed to fit over the nose and mouth of the wearer, and properly fitted can provide excellent protection. Our most popular N95 mask is the 3M Dust Mask. I deally suited in the petrochemical and pharmaceutical sectors. Our most popular P95 mask is the 3M Dust Mask. Used in conjunction with full face respirators or half face respirators, filters and cartridges are used where a more secure fit is desired for the user.
Unlike disposable masks which only filter out air-based particulates, cartridges are capable of filtering out non-particulate hazards ranging from organic vaporsr to chlorine and tear gas. Cartridges and filters are sold in pairs typically, and are attached to the masks and discarded when they are worn out.
Full masks are typically used in environments where contaminates will irritate mucus membranes and a users eyes. A little online research will reveal that the flu virus is. Clearly smaller than even N masks can filter out.
However, it is critical to understand that the flu virus does not float in the air by itself. The flu virus is transported from patient to patient on droplets of excretions from sneezing and coughing. These particles are typically 5 microns or larger. When a sick patient wears a respirator, the respirator can be very effective at preventing infectious material from leaving the patients body, and when worn by healthy individuals, it prevents inhalation of said material.
More importantly, wearing a mask is a excellent way of preventing the user from rubbing or touching their mouth or nose, which is a very high risk factor. At the end of the day will an N95 mask guarantee to protect you from the Flu? But it can substantially reduce your risk or receiving or transmitting the disease.
In general, dust masks and filters should be discarded after each "encounter" or "procedure". The risk of contamination can also be heightened by removing and applying the mask multiple times. In general, once removed, the Dust Mask should be disposed of. Additionally, proper hand hygiene should be observed when touching a potentially contaminated mask. Further concern should be given to cross-contamination when wearing masks into different rooms or areas.
The "P" indicates P95 respirators are oil proof. Protecting your workers from inhaling oil- and non-oil-based particulates is your top priority, and at EnviroSafetyProducts, we understand that. It's not just a matter of OSHA compliance; it's a matter of keeping your workplace safe so your workers stay healthy.
Our inventory is packed with N and P respirators from the most trusted manufacturers, like 3M and Moldex at extremely affordable prices. You can get the protection your employees need and stay in compliance with OSHA standards without going over budget.
If you're not sure what N or P respirator will work best in your workplace, call our expert customer service representatives at and they'll point you in the right direction. Not all protective respirator masks are the same. N masks are designed to protect the wearer from inhaling non-oil-based particulates, and according to OSHA standards, they must prevent They're ideal for grinding, sanding, mineral processing and other activities that do not involve oil-based hazards.
People working on construction sites, in dry food processing areas and in agricultural processing stations can benefit from using N respirators. They block dangerous hazards like lead, cadmium, arsenic and methylenedianiline, commonly referred to as MDA. P respirators are effective at blocking They can protect wearers from exposure to dust, fumes and hazardous mists.
P masks are ideal for construction environments, food processing plants, agricultural applications and pharmaceutical manufacturing. They also provide complete protection against non-oil-based particulates, like lead, arsenic and cadmium. P respirators are often used during welding, as well. The Centers for Disease Control tested N and P masks for their efficacy against avian flu, swine flu and other contagious diseases and found them to provide superior protection.
Since N respirators and P respirators are capable of blocking the majority of airborne hazards, people often use them to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases. Moldex and 3M respirators, like all other respirators, are ineffective if they aren't used properly. It's important to make sure each employee in your workplace is properly trained to use them for maximum effectiveness. OSHA requires employers to educate their workers on the proper use of all required PPE, so setting up a comprehensive training plan goes hand-in-hand with purchasing top-quality P and N respirators.
Employees need to know how to seal N and P masks to their faces, how to use masks in conjunction with other PPE like safety goggles and hearing protectionand how to adjust the masks for maximum comfort. Remember that N masks are not rated for protection against oil-based particulates, but P respirators are. If you're having a hard time choosing the right respirator for your workplace, just call What we consider as dust masks and respirators are all respirators, technically speaking.
What we define to be dust masks are the cheapo, strap on, disposable small masks. These are only as to be used while you are dusting, sanding or grinding. Whereas those that we believe to be respirators are a bit high on the price, has this humongous look and has this cartridge like missiles on a fighter jet.
You may like to read the best dust mask for woodworking and best respirators. The filters attached to one or two straps which hold the mask to your face. And there may or may not be a metallic nose-piece for the mask to take the shape of your nose and prevent the air gap.
Queensland Government site header
Since these are in fact what you call or believe to be dust masks. Then the N-Series is further subdivided into 3 different categories depending on what percentage of the filtered air is in fact actually filtered. Hence, comes the N95, N99, and the N You guessed it right, the suffixes are in fact the efficiencies i. For real??!!!! Among all of these the N95 is the hottest stuff on the market. N95 is the cheapest dust mask or respirators on the market.
These do indeed give a professional vibe due to the fancy look.
The cartridges that I called missiles earlier on the article is in fact the paramount of all the facets. It does the job of filtering and acting as the inlet valve. It basically does the job of sealing and diminishing the odds of having any gaping holes.
This rubbery part of the respirator is what remains in contact with your face and prevents gaping holes. Respirators are indeed way better than the dust masks. These can keep you safe in environs with carcinogenic and toxic dusts.
And they are efficient enough to save you from bacteria and viruses and even particles that might have asbestos or are radioactive. But the difference among them is that the R-Series has a very short shelf and service life. So, if you only need to protect your respiratory system from a non-oil based particle, you can just get a dust mask.
These are comfortable, lightweight and is obviously the more economical and logical choice for such environs. Besides the dust mask can also protect you from animal dust, mists, pollens and obviously nuisance dust. But these with the right cartridges and filter are bound to protect you from almost any sort contaminants.Coronavirus: Which mask should you buy?
Just be sure to have shaved your beard. So, at the end of the day, all boils down to the point, if your environ has only non-oil based particulates. Eric Parker is a tool expert from the U. He is a Mechanical Engineer and uses tools almost every day at home and at work. He enjoys helping people to master everything about a wide range of tools through blogging.
He is for sure a Tool Freak! Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to primary sidebar Skip to footer. Table of Contents.Respirators are specially designed to protect against small sized particles and particulates such as dusts, smokes, mists, organic vapors, harmful toxic gases, etc. Depending upon their efficiency to filter these particles and particulates these half face masks are further classified into three filtration effectiveness classes such as Difference between P1, P2 and P3 Filters.
A Complete Guide to Dust Masks Ratings
Post Next post. Jul 30, Vipul Rana. Non-toxic household cleaners and disinfectants. Non-toxic dusts from sanding, grinding, sawing and insulating particles. Things to consider when selecting P2 particulate filter — Mechanically and thermally generated particulates. Dusts, mists, and fumes from sanding, grinding, cutting, drilling metal. Mist droplets from spraying.
Organic Vapours and Gases. Things to consider when selecting P3 particulate filter — All particulates including highly toxic materials.
P3 filters separates P3 has also an organic vapor relief. Cautions and Limitations These filters should not be used in the atmosphere that has oxygen level below Do not exceed maximum use concentrations established by regulatory standards. Always seal tight the respirator when in use. Please check for the leakage if any and fix it before you start your work.
Filters should be replaced after 40 hours of work or when breathing get tough. To get maximum protection from respirator Respirators are very useful when working in an area that is contaminated with hazardous air particles.Choosing the right respirator is key. Where a specific respiratory recommendation is not available from Australian or New Zealand authorities, the use of respiratory protective equipment may be drawn from recognised international authorities or standardisation bodies such National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH.
For instance, an APF of 10 means the respirator can protect against exposure levels that are up to 10 times the WES for that hazard. To see what level of APF your workplace needs, divide your exposure levels by the exposure limit. There are other ways that you may also commonly see respirators classified as well, such as:.
Negative-pressure respirators rely on the wearer to pull air in through cartridges or filter. This has the potential to put a strain on the wearer, which is why medical evaluations are important and recommended. Disposable respirators, also known as filtering facepieces, are used to help protect against some particulate hazards.
Reusable respirators can be used with particulate filters, gas and vapor cartridges or combination cartridges, which may need to be replaced on a schedule or as needed. Full-face respirators cover the eyes and much of the face, and can sometimes replace the need for safety glasses.
Tight-fitting respirators must be fit-tested when use is required, and users must perform seal checks every time a tight fitting negative pressure respirator — a filtering facepiece or half facepiece respirator - is worn.
Self-contained breathing apparatus SCBA is classified as a positive pressure supplied air respirator, but is different from all other respiratory equipment in that the user carries the source of the clean air with them in a tank.
Understanding the different types of particulate filters and gas and vapour cartridges will help you select the right one. The negative pressure particulate categories are based facepiece coverage.
All particulate filtering facepieces that cover the nose and mouth area only can achieve only a P1 or P2 classification. Learn more about respirators that meet the needs of any work environment. Learn more about the extensive family of 3M disposable respirators that offer a full range of comfort, convenience and features that help you meet your needs.
We have respirators that can help protect against chemicals as well as particulate hazards, including oily mists. We can also help you with your selection process:. The 3M Respirator Selection Guide provides respirator selection criteria for particulate hazards and a wide range of chemical compounds. Just enter contaminants and their concentrations and the software analyses the data and profiles a record of your choices. For more information about respirator selection, go to our website or call 3M Technical Service at See the next step in your journey to optimising your respiratory protection program.
Respirator Selection. Generally, you protect against particulate hazards with a filter and against gas and vapours with a cartridge.Anyone who has researched disposable respirators has faced the dilemma between choosing an N95 or R95 disposable respirator.
Questions arise: What is really the difference between the two? Which one should I be using? We'll talk about a P95 shortly. It is the government agency that tests the respirators to verify they actually filter what they are marketed to filter. But, 'R' rated respirators may be used in environments that contain oily particles.
This means that respirators with a NIOSH rating of "R" are have a broader spectrum of protection and are in this sense a better mask. We've seen that the N95 does not filter oily particles but the R95 does.
But what is a P95 respirator? The "R" rating is said to be "somewhat resistant to oil". The "P" rating is said to be "strongly resistant to oil". In other words, the R95 has an 8 hour service life. The P95 has a 40 hour or 30 day service life whichever comes first. To sum up: a N95 disposable respirator does not protect against oily particles; a R95 does; a P95 also does and has a longer service life than the R We sell a 3M P95 here: Model When oil-based products, like some solvents or pesticides, are sprayed, the oil particles become airborne.
These airborne oil particles are oil-based particles. The SDS for the product you are using should make this clear. Now this question can be answered and understood. Of course, the simplest thing to do is use an R95 even when there are no oil-based particles present.
Because it does everything the N95 does, plus oil-based particles. Generally, however, R95 respirators are more expensive. We also briefly mentioned the P95 designation. Its advantage is that it protects for a longer period of time - a 40 hour service life instead of an 8 hour service life.
It is generally more expensive that both the N95 and R Everything we just learned above still applies with respect to the "P" or "N" designations. The P protects against oily particles. The N does not. The difference is that now that these disposable respirators have a f iltration efficiency of at least So the "best" disposable respirator you can purchase would be a P A common question we get is whether an R95 or P95 is also acceptable.