How to Choose the Right Respirator

How to Choose the Right Respirator

Nov 14th 2019

Choosing respirators, filters, and cartridges that fit your Teflon™ coating shop’s needs is very important because respirators come in many shapes and sizes. You must make a decision between disposable or reusable respirators, and you must make sure that the respirator is equipped with the correct cartridge or filter for the respiratory hazards in your work environment.

Both disposable and reusable respirators can be used to protect you from many harmful substances. But it’s most critical to make sure you are using the right filter or cartridge. For dusts, fumes, and mists, use a particulate filter, and for gasses and vapors, use an appropriate chemical cartridge. Intech offers all the Teflon™ supplies you need for coating Teflon™ in its online Shop.

Particulate Filters

  • Dusts: Created by sanding, dusting, or sweeping some materials.
  • Fumes: When metal is heated to its boiling point, then cooled again quickly, there will be fumes.
  • Mists: Little drops of a sprayed material that stay in the air.

Chemical Cartridges

  • Gases: Particles that diffuse freely to fill the container or area they are in.
  • Vapors: Created when liquids evaporate (changing from a liquid state to a gaseous state) or solids sublimate (changing from a solid state to a gaseous state, bypassing the liquid state all together).

Cartridge Care

A respirator cartridge starts working from the moment you open the package it was shipped in, whether it is being used occasionally or constantly. The environment in the facility will determine how long the wearer of the cartridge is protected from the airborne toxins for which it was designed to shield him or her from.
There are recommended procedures that management can use to evaluate the environment, estimate cartridge expiration, and replace in time to assure the coater’s safety. The cartridge wearer cannot determine when the cartridge has expired because toxic air has no telltale taste or smell.

Disposable Respirators

Disposable respirators usually only have particulate filters and are relatively inexpensive. The benefits of disposable respirators are comfort, lightweight composition, adjustable straps, and overall economy. Particulate respirators will filter up to 10 times the applicable exposure limits only for general dust, steel/manganese alloys, stainless steel, aluminum, and galvanized steel. Do not use particulate respirators for cadmium or lead. Popular disposable respirators are the 8210 model, which is $16.99 for a box and the 8511 respirator, which is $24.99 a box.

Reusable Respirators

Reusable respirators can use either particulate filters or chemical cartridges in half and full facepieces, but you can replace filters and cartridges as they’re useful life expires. Filters and cartridges are available for many applications, and many styles can be adapted to PAPR or Supplied Air Respirator setups. Popular reusable respirators are the 3M 6000 series and 7000 series, with cartridges that will filter up to 50 times the exposure limits for all the contaminants listed below.

The Health Risks

The contaminants listed here have severe potential effects if you are exposed to them:

  • Steel/Manganese Alloys can cause pneumoconiosis, siderosis, and central nervous system harm.
  • Stainless Steel can cause pneumoconiosis, kidney damage, lung irritation, and cancer.
  • Aluminum can cause respiratory irritation.
  • Galvanized Steel can cause metal fume fever.
  • Cadmium can cause metal fume fever, respiratory irritation, kidney damage, and lung cancer.
  • Lead can cause central nervous system harm and systemic poisoning.