Disposable respirators are called dust masks. However, it’s different from the normal dust masks in a way that it can provide more respiratory protection coverage. While the normal single-strapped dust masks can provide general dust protection such as during leaf blowing or household dust protection, the disposable respirator can protect airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
NIOSH has established a guideline that says that respirator masks can be reused given that the person is exposed to dust levels less than 200 mg in the span of 8 hours and if the person isn’t working on a Biosafety lab. This leads us to the question of how often a person should change disposable respirators.
You usually know by instinct when it is time to replace your dust mask. But if you’re not sure, here are the situations that call for a worker to change his/her n95 mask or n99 mask
Overtime, the continuous use of dust masks can lead to it being soiled or contaminated. When the dust masks have become soiled enough, it can hinder the ability of the mask to block off the incoming dust. Moreover, it can also make breathing become difficult for less clean air will be able to pass through the dust mask.
Dust masks usually become easily soiled when the user just puts the dust mask down everywhere when not in use.
Dust masks can easily become damaged due to their poor frame integrity. When the dust masks are not properly taken care of, they could become deformed and worse, damaged. Holes in the dust mask can contribute greatly to its ineffectiveness to provide full protection to its wearer since it can easily allow dirty air to go through the mask and into the nose which can easily be breathed in.
Broken straps on the dust masks are also an indication that the dust masks need replacing. Even if you try fixing it, its ability to completely protect you becomes compromised. It’s better to change it than to risk getting airborne diseases.
One of the biggest no-no’s when it comes to disposable respirator masks is sharing them with other people. Germs from other people can easily cling to the surface of the dust mask. It could easily get transferred to you. Even if you’re okay with sharing dust masks with other people, NIOSH strongly discourages you to do this.
Even if the mask isn’t dirty, if you used it for 8 to 10 hours straight, you should consider changing it. Chances are, a lot of invisible germs may have clung to it without you knowing.
Respiratory protection is one of the easiest protection you can give yourself. If you feel like your disposable respirator needs changing, don’t hesitate to dispose of them and grab yourself a new one or get an n95 mask that is reusable. For more questions, feel free to call us or send us a message and we’ll be happy to address your inquiry as soon as we can.