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Improved half mask respirator (don't use dust masks)

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Review by WoodshopTherapy posted 01-29-2019 09:39 PM 2350 views 4 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Improved half mask respirator (don't use dust masks) No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve used respirators to protect my lungs from the damage of wood dust since I learned in the early 2000’s that wood dust had been classified as cancer causing. The US Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) has a number of resources on wood dust health hazards.

I just replaced my worn out respirator with a new 3M half mask with a quick latch system, and WOW, I love it. The top strap works on a lever which releases the tension and makes it very easy to slip the strap on and off. The neck strap also has a loop and hook to easily put it on and off. These are improvements over the MSA respirator I was using. I find I use it more because it’s less of a hassle to get on and off.

I don’t want to promote Amazon links in LumberJocks, but if you want the specific product, its in my blog post about respirators and dust masks – http://homeimprovementwoodworking.com/wood-dust-health-risks/

I sometimes see woodworkers on Instagram or YouTube wearing dust masks, and I cringe. Often I reach out to them privately to tell them that dust masks can’t protect your lungs from wood dust, that they need a NIOSH approved respirator with a P100 filter. I know 2 retired woodworkers with permanent lung damage due to wood dust so I take this stuff seriously. Most often, the people I connect with about this are appreciative to learn about respirators. I hope you find this useful too.

I took a picture here of the 3M respiratory (right) the MSA respirator (left). I hope you find this useful.

-- Scott Bennett - sharing woodworking knowledge at Home Improvement Woodworking




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WoodshopTherapy

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23 comments so far

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

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#1 posted 01-30-2019 12:19 AM

Great timing. I am shopping for a new respirator as the straps on mine are shot. Safety is important, lungs, eyes, and hearing.

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CaptainKlutz

939 posts in 1791 days


#2 posted 01-30-2019 01:14 AM

+1 Have used 3M quick latch mask for several years. Being able to flip it open .vs. take it off for phone call is priceless. They sell several sizes, be sure to get one that fits your face best.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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a1Jim

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#3 posted 01-30-2019 02:19 AM

I like mine also.

View AM420's profile

AM420

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#4 posted 01-30-2019 04:04 AM

Does the 3M take filters for aerosols like spray lacquer?

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BertL

3 posts in 1032 days


#5 posted 01-30-2019 05:29 AM

Yes, you can buy the cheaper pink particulate filters for dust only, or a selection of replaceable cartridge type filters for organic vapors, ammonia and such.

You can buy the 7500 or 6500 series with either type of filter, or with no filter. I think the 6500 has the flip down feature. Filters are easily swapped.

As mentioned above, do pay attention to size. When my first one arrived, I discovered I’d bought a medium, and as a 6’ male, I could only wear it for short stints. The Large size has been much more comfortable.

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RonGoldberg

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#6 posted 01-30-2019 09:30 AM

Can you email me the exact model number. You are referring to in this review? Rongoldberg3 @gmail.com

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

939 posts in 1791 days


#7 posted 01-30-2019 11:58 AM

I use the 6500 series, it has slightly lower profile than 6500QL and more expensive 7500.
https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/worker-health-safety-us/personal-protective-equipment/half-face-respirator/

PDF brochure:
https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/639110O/3m-respirator-selection-guide.pdf&fn=Respirator%20Selection%20Guide%202018_R7.pdf

The mask can use many different filters, here is pdf on options:
https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/565214O/3m-cartridge-filter-guide-and-brochure.pdf

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3838 posts in 2285 days


#8 posted 01-30-2019 12:02 PM

Not all dusts masks are the same. I wore a paper type mask at work that had a valve and seal around the inside. We were all test fitted to insure that they worked.
With all masks the fit is critical and no beards.

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playingwithmywood

439 posts in 1894 days


#9 posted 01-31-2019 03:24 AM

The 3m quick latch is the only way to go. I love mine so much I bought another just to have a back up. Too bad I had to mail order mine cause it is not a normal thing one can get at the big box store they have the junk ones from 3m not the quick latch at least when I last checked

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Sta2lt

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#10 posted 01-31-2019 06:50 AM

I like mine also

View PPK's profile

PPK

1307 posts in 1106 days


#11 posted 01-31-2019 02:49 PM

Thanks for sharing. Good article. I’ve got the same thing. Now I just have to be more dedicated to wearing it…

-- Pete

View Bill1974's profile

Bill1974

129 posts in 3282 days


#12 posted 01-31-2019 05:49 PM

To be on the same side look for a mask/filter that are Niosh P100 (aka HEPA). All of lower rated filters and masks let in some (a lot or a little) of the harmful dust you can’t see. Proper fit is just as a important, if there are air leakages around the mask it’s not doing you any good.

One word of caution when using filters that also filter out vapors and such, be aware of the environment you are are in. It’s possible that the filter works well enough that it filters out the harmful vapors and odors, but you may be inhaling air that does not have enough oxygen. Just because the filter removes specific harmful compounds it may not remove all the ones currently present (carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide). A well vented work area is just as import when wearing a mask. A well vented area will also help the filters last longer. Unlike filtering dust, filters that remove vapors can only absorb so much before then stop working. Keep a tab on the number of hours used and replace more frequently than a filter that is used for dust.

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1965scooper

10 posts in 1972 days


#13 posted 02-02-2019 03:09 AM

Is there an effective respirator for those of us who have a beard? I’m no ZZ Top fan or Santa’s apprentice, but I have a pretty full beard that I keep trimmed to about 3/4”.

I’ve used the customary paper masks you can buy at a hardware store, but I know I’m still sucking in more than enough bad stuff.

-- 1965 Scooper

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playingwithmywood

439 posts in 1894 days


#14 posted 02-02-2019 03:18 AM

the 3m fits pretty tight and comes in 3 different sizes and the rubber is pretty soft it I would think it would contour pretty well but I have never had a beard so not sure how it would work but worth a try cause it is the best mask I have ever had


Is there an effective respirator for those of us who have a beard? I m no ZZ Top fan or Santa s apprentice, but I have a pretty full beard that I keep trimmed to about 3/4”.

I ve used the customary paper masks you can buy at a hardware store, but I know I m still sucking in more than enough bad stuff.

- 1965scooper


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ibewjon

234 posts in 3090 days


#15 posted 02-02-2019 04:11 AM

A supplied air mask might be the answer. They are used for sandblasting. You need a large enough air compressor, and the proper filter to make the air breathable. It is a positive pressure setup so it pushes air out through leaks, keeping dust out.

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