12 Tips For Breathin' Easy
* Make sure your work environment has sufficient ventilation.
* Make sure your respirator has the proper NIOSH designation (for example, N95) for the application.
* Always inspect the respirator before using it. Throw it away if you find cracks, damaged pieces, or other defects.
* Time-use limitations may apply. Change the replacement filter cartridges frequently-at least as frequently as recommended by the manufacturer.
* Check with your local authorities for proper disposal of used respirators.
* Respirators must be worn during all times of exposure, including when mixing paint-not just when shooting it.
* Respirators are not intended for use by children or by anyone with a medical condition that might prevent the safe use of a respirator, such as asthma, emphysema, or a history of heart disease. Those people should consult their doctor before use.
* Respirator filters are working whenever they're exposed to air. Keep respirators in the sealable bag provided by the manufacturer. If you have a shop refrigerator, toss the bag inside to prolong filter life.
* Respirators offer protection only if they fit properly. Use the following test to check the fit. Cartridge-type respirators: Place your hands over the cartridge and inhale. If no air comes through, the respirator fits properly. If air comes through, readjust the straps and try again. Supplied-air respirators: Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding required airflow. Make sure no air can come in from the outside. Report any problems, especially if you find it difficult to breathe through the mask or if you notice a strange odor or taste.
* Make sure your beard or other facial hair isn't preventing direct contact with the edge of the respirator and your face. Anything that prevents direct contact for a tight seal will reduce the effectiveness of the respirator.
* If the respirator becomes difficult to breathe through or is damaged, immediately go to a non-contaminated area and replace the respirator.
* Respirators cannot prevent contaminants from entering your body through other routes, such as through the skin. Always wear adequate personal protective equipment, like gloves or other protective clothing.
Isocyanates cannot be detected, so use a supplied-air respirator if you are working with paints containing them. 3M reps recommend leaving this to a professional painter, and they also emphasize that home users cannot easily determine exposure levels and do not have ready access to the type of training, medical evaluation, and fit testing needed to be in compliance with workplace respirator standards. Under these conditions, respirators are intended to help keep non-harmful dusts and certain other particles out of your nose, mouth, and lungs, and with some filters help eliminate annoying odors only. It is important to understand that no respirator will eliminate the inhalation of all particles, nor will it eliminate the risk of disease, illness, or death.
|Substance of Process ||Cartridge ||Filter |
|Aerosol spray cans || OV ||N95 |
|Airbrush (water based) ||- ||N95 |
|Airbrush (solvent-based) || OV ||N95 |
|Lacquers || OV ||— |
|Metal grinding (with no or water-based lubricant) ||- ||N95 |
|Metal grinding (with lubricant) ||- ||P95 |
|Metal melting ||- ||N95 |
|Cadmium ||- ||N100 |
|Lead ||- ||N100 |
|Metal powders ||- ||N95 |
|Paint strippers |
|(solvent type) || OV ||— |
|Solvents || OV ||— |
|Spraying (water based) ||- ||N95 |
|Spraying (solvent-based) || OV ||N95 |
|Welding (metal fumes only) ||- ||N95 |
|Welding (except lead, highly toxic metals) ||- ||N100 |