Working around the house may sometimes require the use of a respirator or a dust mask. I don’t suppose I have to tell you the dangers you are subjecting yourself to when you use pesticides, fumes, expose yourself to asbestos, paint particles, solvents, adhesives, caustic cleaning products, and God knows what else. These substances can severely damage your lungs and your health in general. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
The best way to avoid any damage from the substances I mentioned above is to use a high-quality respirator that will protect your airway (and your eyes in some cases) from the dangerous fumes. Some people refuse to take this precaution thinking that it will never affect them. But they couldn’t be more wrong. Nobody ever believes that bad things will happen to them. And that, my friends, is how people end in the hospital intoxicated or with a collapsed lung.
How to choose the best respirator
There are many circumstances that require the use of a respirator. That is why there are many types out there. Each category has been designed for a certain amount of danger. The more harmful substances float through the air, the more protection you need.
So, how can you decide which mask you need? Are there any criteria? Are there any recommendations? Of course, there are. People often get confused and don’t know what to buy. Fortunately for you, here is a complete guide on how to choose the best respirator for different situations. In order to find out what mask you need you must ask yourself four basic questions.
- Are there pesticides involved? If the answer is no, then you can use a basic respirator you find at your local hardware store. Nothing too fancy. Covering your mouth and nose should be enough. However, if the answer is yes, then we are talking about something else. The best way to figure out the kind of protection you need is to look at the label and see the level of protection required. Most of the times the label will list a respirator that has an NIOSH TC approval. It will also recommend a prefilter which has been approved for pesticides. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions nothing bad can happen. All you have to do is make sure that the respirator you purchase matches the specifications of the one on the label. Simple, right?
- What are the affected areas? If the substance in question affects your airway only, then you need a mask that will protect just your nose and your mouth. People often use this kind of cover, but to feel safe, they add a pair of glasses. It’s not necessary, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, if the substances you are using can affect both your airway and your eyes, then the best respirator you should go for is the one that covers the entire face. A full-face respirator will make sure that all your sensitive areas are protected.
- What is the primary cause of concern? Is there an immediate danger to life and health (IDLH) or are we talking about a lack of oxygen? If the atmosphere is labeled as IDHL, then whatever floats around has the potential to kill you. I know it sounds horrible, but it’s a possible circumstance. You should avoid entering in such an environment altogether, but if you have to, then make sure to take all reasonable precaution. The best choice here is to wear a respirator that can supply you with breathable air. Whether it is a portable air tank or a supplied air system that pumps air with the help of an air compressor, it doesn’t matter. What really matters is that you have breathable air at all times. Just to make sure you are safe, use a device to determine the level of the contamination.
- What are you working with? Fumes, dust, or mists? If the answer is yes to all, then what you need is a particulate respirator, filter or pre-filter. They are the most commonly used respirators. They trap both solid and liquid particles such as dust, mists, and fumes. They come in different forms. They are either disposable respirators or in the form of a pre-filter. The latter can be used with a chemical cartridge. These filters must be changed based on the manufacturer’s recommendation or whenever you have trouble breathing.
What is the right particulate respirator?
I am going to put it very simple for you. There is a particulate filters rating in place established by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This evaluation is made according to what and how much they filter.
- N means that the filter is not oil proof
- R stands for oil resistant up to 8 hours
- P is for oil proof more than 8 hours
- A number usually corresponds to the percentage of one-micrometer particles removed during trials. So, 95 means that the filter is able to remove 95% of the particles from the air. Filters which can eliminate 100% of the particles are also called High-Efficiency Filters (HE or HEPA).
Dust, mists, fumes or agricultural molds can usually be avoided with an N95, but highly toxic dust always requires a HEPA, like an N100 or a P100. For example, the best respirator for asbestos, mold, lead, and cadmium will always be an N100 or a P100.
Pesticides, however, can be avoided with an N95, as long as it’s not an oil-based chemical. If so, then you need an R or a P. Always read the label. It’s the only way you’ll know what you need.
What are the best respirators?
Now that we have covered the basics, you should have enough knowledge to know exactly what you need. There are various respirators out there. Some of them are high-quality and will protect you against whatever. But not all of them do what they claim. Which is why I put together three products that will surely satisfy your needs.
Honeywell North Half Mask Respirator
I thought I should start small, with a simple respirator that can be used for small jobs, like cleaning the attic or a paint job. This product is ideal because it’s cheap and low-maintenance. It’s designed for simple jobs. It doesn’t have cartridge respirators included, and you are going to have to change them after 3 or 4 paint jobs because they tend to get clogged. If you are having trouble breathing, you can do it more often than that. The cartridges are cheap, so no worries there.
The design is very simple, but that is a good thing because it will allow you wear safety glasses without feeling some discomfort. Also, the glasses will not fog. Maybe a little in cold temperatures, but in normal conditions, you should see just fine.
The fit is perfect because of the cradle straps. It doesn’t cause discomfort or too much pressure. It may be a little difficult to make the adjustments on the face, but with patience, you will get there. The vents work wonderfully. You will be able to breathe as naturally as possible.
Good news for men who like facial hair. You probably know that there is this trend now. But no matter how big is your beard, the seal of the respirator will still do its job. Nothing that’s not supposed to will get inside the mask.
The only flaw I could find is the fact that there are no cartridges included. Just to be clear, the product consists of the black part only. The rest you have to buy separately. But as I said before, low-maintenance means that all parts are cheap, so I don’t see any issues here. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
JoyUtoy Full Face Respirator Respiratory Protection Paint A Full w/ Activated Carbon Respirator
Just as the title suggests, this is a full face mask that will protect your airway and your eyes from almost anything. According to customers’ reviews, this is the best respirator for painting. A lot of people use respirators that can protect only their mouth and nose when they are painting. But this can be a mistake at times. It depends on the paint. But what they ignore is that some paints have in their composition substances that can affect both the airway and the eyes. So why risk it, right?
This is an activated carbon mask that will ensure protection from a great variety of substances like organic gas and vapors, chlorine benzene, alcohol, acetone, carbon dioxide, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, and about 1000 other kinds of gas. I am not going to number them all because it may take a while. The point here is that you are protected against whatever.
The design is lightweight. You will feel relaxed wearing this respirator. It will not cause discomfort and pressure. The seal is perfect, will fit any face shape. However, it does come in sizes, so make sure to purchase the right one. Otherwise, there is no chance that it will fit you.
As far as vision is concerned, there is no need to worry. The mask comes with an anti-fogdouble side. This, together with the perfect seal will make fog a thing of the past. The interface is close to prevent the intrusion of gas. The manufacturer included all the possible features to make you feel safe. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
3M Paint Spray Respirator
There is one thing I noticed about people, and it will not come as a surprise to you either. They like cheap but high-quality products. Who can blame them? If there is something good, at a reasonable price, why go for the more expensive item, right?
If it makes you feel more comfortable, this is a respirator that’s approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. It has passed all testing during the trials, which should put your mind at ease and not question its efficiency.
The respirator works on organic vapor cartridges that will filter about 40 hours of light solvent work, but only about 8 hours of concentrated solvent filtering. If you think about it, it’s pretty good. There are better masks out there, but there is none in this price range. I suppose that when you buy something cheap, you don’t expect it to deliver who knows what.
This product is highly recommended if your work includes spray painting. Nothing will get past it. Not the smell, and definitely not the toxic fumes. The seal will do its job appropriately. Comfort level is also satisfactory. The respirator will fit, but the one thing you may have trouble with is the glasses. Depending on what type of safety glasses you wear, it may be a little uncomfortable.
The respirator also comes with a zip bag that is ideal for storing. You can keep the mask up to a whole year in the resealable bag without suffering any damage. It comes in handy if you don’t need it on a regular basis, but only now and then. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
I consider myself a safety freak. God forbid that somethinggets past that respirator. Which is why I prefer the Joyutoy Full Face Respirator. I am fond of my eyes as well as my airway. Even if it’s more expensive than other products, I can only imagine how expensive medical treatment is. I wouldn’t want to hurt myself. I do not wish that on anyone. Which is why I recommend this respirator. It will provide maximum protection in any given situation.
I don’t believe I have to emphasize the importance of a high-quality respirator, do I? There is a reason why people invented them in the first place. Toxic fumes are not a joke and should be treated accordingly. Safety measures are the most important aspect in any line of work or hobby. It should never be toyed with. Click here to buy on Amazon
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