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Can anyone recommend a good respirator?

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  • Can anyone recommend a good respirator?

    Like a lot of folks who smoked before, I developed COPD. My lungs don't take kindly to any form of harassment. The market place is full of respirators out there from a buck on up to hundreds. Can anyone suggest one they have used that might be able to help me with arc welding, grinding and sawdust chips. Even sweeping the floor in the shop aggravates the lungs. Anything I do with chemicals is always done outside with the breeze at my back so I don't need/want one for chemicals.

    Should I be looking at buying two? One for dust and one for fumes?
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  • #2
    If you want a good all purpose disposable this is the type. N95 - NIOSH Approved for N95 - (95% efficient protection against non-oil aerosols)

    This outfit has pretty much all the types including full face shields and prescription lenses
    Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
    I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
    All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only


    • #3
      I tried a lot of the respirators on the market when I still ran my shop and I found this to be a good economical choice for general all-around use but not for welding.

      This is pretty much the same respirator but with an exhalation valve that makes it much more comfortable to use and I would think it would almost be a requirement for someone with COPD, a bit more costly however.

      Neither of the above respirators will offer much protection from welding fumes and a model designed for the purpose should be used, this is espicially important for someone with breathing problems. The 3M 8212 listed below is the one I used for many years in my welding shop but they are quite pricey at about $8 to $10 each and are only usable for a couple of days after removing from the package. All of these respirators are much cheaper when bought in quantity instead of one at a time. Lots of different respirators out there and I tried a lot of them in an attempt to find a good balance of cost vs function and the three I listed are what worked best for me. The first two are not good for welding but the welding respirator would be good for just about anything except spray painting, it is however a bit costly to use.


      • #4
        YOD, I have something similar to this.

        I'll bet that you will get some good info here. I just went out and read the package, matched up the cartridge for what I was doing and bought it.

        Now, the important part.
        Everywhere I have worked and had to use one of these, I had to take a test of lung capacity. This was two fold. One, they wanted to monitor my breathing over many years since I was cleaning out grinding dust.

        Second, the other reason is for your physical well being. That is to say, these masks add resistance to your breathing. Doing a bunch of activity with one of these on can be tiring. When I were younger, it would make me feel a bit tired after a bit. Now, I can feel really tired in a short amount of time depending on the activity level.

        Just be aware that this adds resistance to your breathing. Take a break now and then, don't push through the job. If you feel dizzy, get to fresh air and take the mask off. Relax while sitting. Ok, I bet you get the point.

        Just some info based on a mistake that I made, and survived (take that Darwin). Good luck.

        Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.


        • #5
          YOD like you, I am a reformed smoker but, so far, I dont have your problem. However, I do have some knowledge of the subject. You do not have the lung fuction to comfortably wear ANY unit that requires you to suck air through a layer of filter media. You really need a supplied-air unit. They come as half mask, full mask or as a full face shield unit. These can then be equipped with suitable filter cartridges for whatever activity you are engaged in. I dont know about welding; that may limit you to a half mask to fit nder the helmet. In any case, these are either battery-powered or supplied by airline from a breathing air compressor. These ARE NOT CHEAP! Two suppliers are Racal and 3M, and one of their larger markets are asbestos abatement and tank lining crews. I wish I could recommend a cheap, easy, comfortable solution, but I cant and I KNOW that you are just a bit ahead of me. Duffy
          Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


          • #6
            YOD, Working with toxic gases and explosives every day, this is something I know a little about. Think of a respirator in two parts, the mask and the cartridges. The mask basically holds the cartridges, valving, etc. Purchase a good quality comfortable mask that is NIOSH approved. This is the part that will be around for a while.

            You define the hazard and choose the cartridge that affords the proper protection for that substance. An N-95 is a simple HEPA filter and will filter down to a 1 micron particle, think dust and overspray to a degree. Chemical cartridges are available and are usually categorized by the protection they afford, acid gas, organics, hepa, etc. You can buy a "combo" cartridge that has two components, say an organic coupled with a hepa. Good for painting, due to aerosol and organic protection. The drawback is twice the breathing resistance. If you want to get an idea on what is involved in industry Google "29CFR1910.134" the Fed standard on respiratory protection.

            Take a look in Lab Safety Supply (expensive but nice catalog) and find something that works and then look on EBone.

            I have to run my kids to lacrosse but if you need any more info drop me a line. I will go out in the shop and see if I have a half face respirator and cartridges when I get back. If so I will send them to you, I do not use respirators any more, strictly compressed air. Let you get your feet wet with something before you buy.

            Duffy, I have to disagree with you unless you know his spirometry numbers. I have a guy that volunteers at the local FD where I am Chief and passes his respirator physical every year. He is a smoker with COPD, asthma, wheezes like a duck call and does fine in a fire. It is up to the Doctor.

            Last edited by pressurerelief; 03-21-2009, 11:18 AM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Your Old Dog
              Like a lot of folks who smoked before, I developed COPD. My lungs don't take kindly to any form of harassment.
              This is a real long shot but here goes. Sounds familiar. Least irritant and I was in for cold symptoms - horrible cough, sore throat for a month then repeat for the last year or more. Former smoker, same diagnosis. 86% lung function, what ever that is. Became suspicious, asked for a dog allergy test. Came back positive and a Claritin a day cured me. Hope you find something that works.


              • #8
                Ray...I wear these all the time.
                Shop around tho...they can be bought cheaper than this link.
                You don't really need the back pack hoses but I like them because the filters last longer and the smaller mask setup makes it fit far better under a welding helmet.
                I have tools I don't even know I own...


                • #9
                  YOD...yer mail box is full
                  I have tools I don't even know I own...


                  • #10
                    For welding and all other dust I wear this-


                    Low profile,fits under a welding helment and it's cheap.

                    Fumes,well a air supplied hood is the only way to fly IMHO.
                    I just need one more tool,just one!


                    • #11
                      Just a thought but how about a mask with a long hose running to an outside air source with a oil-less compressor feeding a continuous supply fresh air?

                      Granted dragging around an "umbilical cord" could be a nuisance but there would be no expensive filters that would need frequent replacing.