About ... respirators and filters.
A question that comes to us frequently: what time does dust-dust masks duration?
First of all it is good to point out that the filtering systems, generally called respirators or filters and takes the name of "dustproof masks" have a deadline, even if perfectly stored in the original box. On packaging you can read the label with the date within which you need to use them. Until this date the manufacturer guarantees, if perfectly preserved, the declared characteristics. Subsequently the fibers of which they are composed could lose the filter properties, for example dilating the porosity and thus passing impurities greater than those declared. For this reason it is important to perform this verification even at the time of purchase.
Filtering systems are distinguished in two macro categories: single-use filters and interchangeable mask filters.
The first category is the most used, the legislation (Regulation D.P.I. 2016/425) indicates the time of use equal to the 8-hour working day. The data, like all the precautions concerning D.P.I. It is not strictly prescriptive but refers to the maximum time.
It means that if the respirator does not preserve its peculiar characteristics within this period it should be replaced immediately. For example, if you get dirty due to a manipulation or due to an excess of pollutants.
In the second category the terms are different and are not described because it depends on the pollutant concentration and therefore in the speed with which a filter is clogged. How to do it to establish its duration? The method that is mostly most used is its own experience. Each work environment differs from others and each use is different, it follows that the variables that determine the clogging, and therefore the duration, depend on many factors and not always attributable to objective observation.
In the case of interchangeable filters we always recommend inserting a prefilter which normally has a cost lower than the filter and that allows the latter a longer life period and therefore better protection
A further advice we provide is the identification of the risk factor. We have inserted tables (supplied by 3M) that identify the most frequent risk factors and related recommended filters.
We note that greater protection on solvents, for example, is not synonymous with dust coverage so it is essential to evaluate, in collaboration with its own consultant R.S.P.P. D.P.I. More suitable and carefully consulting section 8 of the polluting product safety data sheet in which the filter model to be used is reported.
In this article we will not focus on the various models and types of filters, for this reason we refer to the table and any specific questions that you want to forward indicating exactly the type of substance from which you would like to protect the respiratory tract.
We continue with some further suggestions regarding the methods of conservation and use.
Good practice is to preserve rubber masks inside a bag to prevent dust from environment or simple contact with hands and dirty surfaces.
Further element of incompatibility with filters is an excessive humidity that is as avoided as possible. The one generated by the breath is normally expelled from the exhalation valve present in all the rubber masks (or silicone) and in many of the disposable model.
The efficiency of the masks must be verified at each use by trying the voltage of the elastics, verifying the perfect adherence with the face (attention to the barbs!) And not last by order of importance, of the gaskets that hold the filters.
As always the common sense and the choice of a quality productTOCertified by companies (such as 3M) notes for the high sense of professional and social responsibility, complete the picture concerning the choice and correct management of these imported respiratory tract protectors.
We close with a curiosity that concerns in particular who welds, category that we assume to know quite well. In a 3M laboratory study the breathing of welding fumes was simulated without protection for the period corresponding to a year of work. The result was the accumulation of metal powders having the volume corresponding to a jar of yogurt!