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pswallace

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Hi, can anyone advise on what kind of respirator I should be looking for ? . . mainly for mdf and general saw dust. I cant really afford the high-end equipment but iv,e looked at some half mask types around £20-30. Would want one that I could change the filters out when needed.Up until now I have just been using the throw away paper types but they aren't really much good. Are these rubber half mask types any good? Thanks Phil.
 

siggy_7

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I have a Vitrex twin filter mask, cost about what you're looking to spend. I find it comfortable to wear and easy to breathe through, and it certainly keeps my lungs dust free. The only negative I would say with this type of mask is that moisture from your exhaled breath collects around the exhaust valve, which builds up and drips after a while.
 

JakeS

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pswallace":1a3w83q4 said:
Hi, can anyone advise on what kind of respirator I should be looking for ? . . mainly for mdf and general saw dust. I cant really afford the high-end equipment but iv,e looked at some half mask types around £20-30.
Point 1: IMO, if you can't afford a decent face-mask you're better off not cutting MDF or other materials with 'dangerous' dust. (In fact, you're probably better off not using any machinery which produces fine dust, either.) Your lungs would cost far more than the cost of a good respirator to replace, and as an asthmatic I can assure you that not being able to breathe properly is no fun at all - I'd gladly pay a couple of hundred quid for my existing respiratory condition to go away, I'd certainly advise people against getting a new one!

Point 2: It's not the mask that's the really important part, it's the filters. The mask just needs to provide a tight seal to your face; I'm fine with one of the nose-and-mouth rubber-seal ones myself (with a so-called 'Van Dyke' beard - albeit the kind that gets called a goatee rather than the cool Musketeer kind) but some people with full beards have seal problems and are probably better off with full-face masks. That said, if you're content with a half-face mask there are certainly some decent-enough ones around within your budget.

However, even a full-face mask is next to useless with the wrong filters. The off-the-shelf ones the mask comes with are probably specced to just keep house dust out or something equally useless, if you're working with fine dust (MDF dust seems particularly bad, apparently it's glued together with something nasty) you really need P2-rated filters at the very least, preferably P3 if you can find them. Make sure that the filters will fit on the mask you buy, as you'll almost certainly have to buy them separately unless you mail-order.

(As it goes, "P" means "particulate", and they're rated from 1-3, with 1 being "better than nothing", 2 being "OK" and 3 being "fairly good" or something. I think there's percentage-particles-filtered meanings, but I'm not sure how accurate they are anyway. If you're going to use the same mask for spraying, you need an A-rated filter, which will filter out organic compounds. If you need to do both, you can certainly get filters which are both A- and P-rated.)

Also check the use-by date on the filters before you buy them, if you can - they do degrade, and I've certainly seen some lying around on the shelves of Wickes that were already two years past their use-by date before they were sold!




As a general rule, if you can smell whatever it is you're worried about, your filters aren't good enough.
 

Shrubby

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The HSE have infomation on choosing a mask for woodwork - search for WIS14
'nuisance' masks wont protect from anything, look for FFP2 or FFP3 . make sure it fits properly - they often leak around the nose (steamed up glasses is a sure sign of leakage)
Matt
 

CHJ

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Another important factor to consider is the quality of the face seal and it's ability to prevent un filtered air entering around the sides if you take a heavier/deep breath.

This is why air fed masks/hoods have a flow rate test as part of the servicing and use checks, to make sure there is always a bigger volume of filtered air available than your lung capacity. This flow rating is part of the design to ensure the masks meet the P2/P3 standard.
No point in having a P2 or P3 filter cartridge if you are drawing a percentage of the air from another route.

Matt beat me to it: :)
 

Jensmith

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I've read the HSE leaflet which was an interesting read, particularly the bit about how to test for leakage. I have just tried the test with my half mask from the HSE sheet where you inhale and then see if the mask stays collapsed and mine didn't so I've given it a clean and I'll try again later.

The thing I want to know is, if you genuinely can't afford the £700 for a P3 air fed respirator (I know the Trend is P2 and I assume the Powercap Lite is also P2), what is the alternative? Is a full face mask at about £80 with a P3 filter good enough to protect your lungs assuming you do the test and there's no leakage?

There are some on Ebay cheaper. Some new, some 2nd hand. Are they worth considering?

The other thing I find hard to judge is how long to use the filters for. They just say until you detect breathing resistance, but it can be difficult to tell at times, especially when I'm cutting things infrequently so it might just be 3-4 hours a week.

I assume that if you are breathing in the dust you can't see that you wouldn't be able to tell? ie would you be sneezing or coughing like with bigger dust or does it just pass into your lungs and do the damage without any 'side effects' until years down the line?
 

CHJ

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Jensmith":15a4txdw said:
.....or does it just pass into your lungs and do the damage without any 'side effects' until years down the line?
Basically yes, unless you are hit by an earlier allergic reaction to the dust or volatiles.
 

tomatwark

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I use P3 disposable masks from Axminster for small jobs.

If I am doing a lot I have P3 filters for my spray mask which is a 3M 6000 series half mask.

I like this mask as it is comfy and is easy to swap between dust of spray filters.

Just don't leave it where the mice might find it as the little B*****s chewed my last one.

When I started my apprenticeship about 30 years ago we used Martindale masks which were a metal frame with a piece of cotton wadding stuff. :roll:



Tom
 

pswallace

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...'some good advise,thanks. One problem though how do you know if A mask is A good fit if you can't try it on first,say when ordering on internet ? also I may be wrong but would there be A hygiene issue if you asked to open one to try on in A shop?. I have noticed some are made in small medium and large which helps A bit. I have also noticed some replaceable filters say " 28 day filter" does that mean 28 days from opening?, in my case I might only need to use one for an hour or two A week. So if I've got it right I should be looking for one with p2-3 filters that fits snugly ? thanks Phil.
 

Shrubby

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Simplest recommendation:
Buy a 3M 8835 in M/L size. they have a soft foam seal all around the inside of the mask - easy to get a good seal and you can wipe it clean before you put it in a sandwich box between uses
I shared a box with various family members - everyone gets a good comfortable fit. (Dräger and North are good too)
Matt
 

HRRLutherie

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JakeS

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monkeybiter":738fc14q said:
This is my half mask http://www.thesafetysupplycompany.c...e-fitted-with-x-P-Filters-EN---JS-BHS---.html
which I find has a very good face seal, even when I 'choose' not to shave. :roll:
That's the one I have, too - which works for me with my selective shaving. ;-)

I don't know how common it is, but one nice feature my previous respirator didn't have is that of the two straps that secure it behind your head, the lower one has a hook-and-loop catch for easy unfastening, making it nice and easy to put on and take off.

I know there were a few times in the past I probably should have worn a mask but didn't 'cause my previous one was such a hassle to get over my head and pull the straps tight on, and it was only going to be a minute or two...
 

wallace

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I have a 3M dustmaster which I much prefer to the trend airshield I had. I have it connected to a grinding mask on a hardhat. It blows air into the top of the hat, which travels over your face. I like it because I can also connect it to a little blower which draws air from outside. This works well when I'm at the lathe because you dont move around much.
Mark
 
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