Respirators, Dust Masks, and What You Should Know.


New Member
Hi everyone. I am still a noob here on the forum and have been reading a lot. One thing I have noticed is that, rightfully, respritory protection must be used when working with the chemicals required for creating these excellent armoring and costuming creations. But I have noticed that some of the terminology is not used correctly (i.e., a mask, a respirator, dust filter). So I thought I would post up some good saftey information for all of us. Sorry for the legth and the technicalness of it.

As a noob, noone knows anything about me. So here is a little backround: I am a safety inspector/auditor; I am a government contractor; and I have completed several safety training courses in my field, including the OSHA 30-Hour Course and I am considered "A Competant Person On Site." I basically spend my day reviewing safety issues and finding and interpretting safety and technical regulations and standards.

Here are some of the FAQ's and other information from OSHA (29CFR1920.134) that may be relevant to our uses. I only provide this as a resource. The material is edited for our purposes.

Read all the instruction provided with your respirator before you use any safety equipment.

If when you are using a respirator, you feel at all ill, have shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, dizzy, or any other symptom related to the use of a respirator stop using it immediatly and get some fresh air.

For more information on respirators see the OSHA Website

Here are some of the FAQ's and other information from OSHA that may be relevant to our uses. I only provide this as a resource. The material is edited for our purposes.

What is a respirator?
A respirator is a protective facepiece, hood, or helmet that is designed to protect the wearer against a variety of harmful airborne agents. There are several types:

Air-purifying respirator means a respirator with an air-purifying filter, cartridge, or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element.

Filtering facepiece (dust mask) means a negative pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece or with the entire facepiece composed of the filtering medium.

Negative pressure respirator (tight fitting) means a respirator in which the air pressure inside the facepiece is negative during inhalation with respect to the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.

Filter or air purifying element means a component used in respirators to remove solid or liquid aerosols from the inspired air.

High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter means a filter that is at least 99.97% efficient in removing monodisperse particles of 0.3 micrometers in diameter. The equivalent NIOSH 42 CFR 84 particulate filters are the N100, R100, and P100 filters.

Why should I use a respirator?
The chemicals you use are dangerous!!! Every post and video I have seen on the 405th Website addresses this first and foremost. This is especially true when you resin, fiberglass, and paint. If you aren’t sure, then wear one. Officially, a respirator must be used to protect you from breathing contaminated and/or oxygen-deficient air when effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted (i.e., little or no ventilation). They must be selected on the basis of hazards to which you are exposed (i.e., particulates, vapors, oxygen-deficiency, or combination). You should only use a respirator that has been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

How do I find the right size?
The respirator must properly fit you. A user seal check is a method to verify that the user has correctly put on the respirator and adjusted it to fit properly. To make sure you have the proper size, place your hands over the air intake and breathing in. If you are using a tight-fitting facepiece respirator, you must perform a user seal check each time they put on the respirator as recommended by the respirator manufacturer.

If you have a small face and cannot find a respirator that fits, check other manufactures; there are a variety of different sizes available.

How do I take care of my respirator?
Before you use your respirator, check the function, tightness of connections, and the condition of the various parts including, but not limited to, the facepiece, head straps, valves, connecting tube, and cartridges, canisters, or filters. Look for any damage, tear, rips, deterioration, elasticity of the straps, etc. If you find damage, don’t try to repair it, just go buy a new one.

Respirators must be stored to protect them from damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals. They must also be packed or stored to prevent deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve. A good method is to place them in individual storage bins. DO NOT STORE THEM IN SEALED BAGS OR BINS!!! At least not immediately after use. The respirator may be damp after use and sealing prevents drying and encourages microbial growth. If plastic bags are used, respirators must be allowed to dry before storage. Respirator facepieces will become distorted and the straps will lose their elasticity if hung on a peg for a long time.

Disposable respirators cannot be disinfected, and are therefore assigned to only one person. Disposable respirators must be discarded if they are soiled, physically damaged, or reach the end of their service life. Replaceable filter respirators may be shared, but must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each use before being worn by a different person, as recommended by the manufacturer.

Respirators with replaceable filters are reusable, and a respirator classified as disposable may be reused as it functions properly. All filters must be replaced whenever they are damaged, soiled, or causing noticeably increased breathing resistance (e.g., causing discomfort to the wearer). Before each use, the outside of the filter material should be inspected. If the filter material is physically damaged or soiled, the filter should be changed (in the case of respirators with replaceable filters) or the respirator discarded (in the case of disposable respirators). Always follow the respirator filter manufacturer's service-time-limit recommendations.
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Jr Member
Great piece of work. It isn't possible to stress the safety issues too much.

By the way, you can use the advanced editing to edit your post. The plain edit isn't working. Click on "Go Advanced" and that will work.


Well-Known Member
First off I'd like to say welcome to the 405th.
Second, when editing use the advanced feature. Works a lot better that way.
Third,WOW great information here a definite ready for everyone not just noobs.

In my humble opinion I think this is worthy of a sticky. And I encourage every one to double check their equipment. After review I found a few things wrong with my own gear that I will have to have fixed. Thank you very much for taking the time to put this together for us.


New Member
Thanks Weeds. I will use the advanced settings from now on.

And I agree 100%. I do safety all-day long so it was no trouble. Safety cannot be stressed enough. The chemicals we use are dangerous and can do some serious damage to you, if not worse. I'm sure most of us are in our garages; not the most well-ventilated areas of the home. So this becomes even more important.


New Member
I just wanted to add a few more bits on information.

Make sure you are all using a respirator and not a dust mask (N95 Dust Mask). Dust masks are designed for just that, dust. Sometimes they may be referred to as a comfort mask. These are great for dusting, sweeping, or other nuisances and will not provide the protection needed with chemicals and painting. The N95 dust mask is very cheap. You can ussually get them for less than $15. You want a particulate filtering respirator. You will spend at least $30. Remember, you get what you pay for. And if is $30 for a pack of ten, you are looking at the wrong masks. I think I spent about $50 (yes for one mask) and got it at Home Depot, well worth it.


Well-Known Member
Excellent, good job :)

Two things you may want to add:
First, pictures. Those who do it wrong are quite often those who don't want to read stuff.
Second, filter classes. Not sure exactly which you have in the US. In Europe, for example, organic vapour filters would have a brown label, the letter A and a number from 1 to 3 depending on their adsorption capacity. And, despite being an organic vapour filter, A1 can be insufficient for working inside with polyester resin.


Well-Known Member

By misfitjh This is the set up i use, I have the same one for work as well. It's nice because it pulls cool air from behind you to use. This is a bonus for me when I'm welding at work as it fits nicely behind my welding helmet. Not sure the exact price but with the extension tubes and that it was not cheap probably in and around $80.