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A respirator hanging on a wall.

Which respirator is right for the job?

Dust Mask

Dust Mask/Filtering FacePiece Respirator

Does not provide mouth and lung protection. Used for removing or reducing the amount of harsh matter inhaled. Does not protect against gas or vapors. Should only be used a certain amount of times before disposal. See label for instructions.

Cartridge respirator

Cartridge Respirator/ Purifying Half-Face Respirator

Only covers the mouth and nose and contains 1 to 2 cartridges that filter the air inhaled. Used for short periods around concentrated chemicals or long periods around low concentrations of chemicals. Can be reused with replacement cartridges or filters.

Gas Mask

Gas Mask/Purifying Full Face Respirator

Covers the entire face (eyes, nose, and mouth). Used when the applicator plans work with heavy concentrations of chemicals for a long period of time. Contains a more absorbent filter. Can be reused with replacement cartridges, canisters, or filters.

Supplied-Air Respirator

Supplied-Air Respirator (SAR)

Covers the entire face (eyes, nose, and mouth) with separate air supply. Clean air is pumped through a hose to the face mask. Used when the oxygen supply in the air is low and the applicator will be working around high concentrations of toxic chemicals in enclosed areas.

Powered Air Purifying Respirato

Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR)

Covers the entire face (eyes, nose, and mouth) along with a hood/helmet and has a portable cylinder of oxygen carried on the applicator’s back. Allows for movement over a wider area and can be used under the same conditions as the supplied-air respirator.

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)

Covers the entire face (eyes, nose, and mouth) with a portable cylinder of oxygen that supplies air to the mask and allows the applicator to move more freely over a wider area. Can be used under the same conditions as the supplied-air respirator.

Additional Information

  • Respirators provide protection from toxic chemicals. Always read the label to know which respirator is needed for each chemical use.
  • Always read the label to see if a respirator is needed when handling or applying chemicals.

Reading Respirator Names

N – not resistant to oil

R – somewhat resistant to oil

P – strongly resistant to oil

Numbers – refer to the percentage of air particles each respirator removes. They are available in 95, 99, and 100 percent filter efficiency levels. (Ex. N95 = Not resistant to oil and removes 95 percent of air particles)

TC Numbers – identify which cartridges, airline hoses, or other respirator parts are approved. Each NIOSH-certified respirator has one.

 

Download a PDF of Respirator Review, ANR-2592. 

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