To choose the appropriate respirator, you will need to review
the following 4 questions.
A) Which respirator do I choose if I'm working
around dusts, mists, fumes or agricultural molds?
You can wear an N95 in almost any dust situation. Exceptions: If you are welding
a highly toxic metal that requires a HEPA (high efficiency) respirator, you should
wear an N100 or a P100. Examples of highly toxic metals are lead and cadmium.
OSHA also has certain substances that it has always required a HEPA respirator
for, such as asbestos and lead.
B) What does 95 and 100 refer to in the
N95 and P100 designations for particulate respirators?
The numbers refer to the efficiency of the filter. The 95% filters
are used for most applications and the nearly 100% efficient filters
are used in place of the old HEPA filters for the more toxic particulate
C) Are you spraying a pesticide or chemical?
If YES, you will need to choose a pre-filter.
Is the pesticide or chemical oil-based?
If NO, you can use a non-oil pre-filter, such as N95.
If YES, you must use an "Oil Proof or Oil Resistant"
pre-filter, such as a P100. The R ,
P and HE
filters can be used for aerosolized oil-based chemicals and pesticides.
R means "Resistant
to Oil" and P stands for
"Oil Proof." The R
filters last up to eight hours when used with oil; the P
filters may last longer - follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
N filters are "Not
Resistant" to oil. If your chemical or pesticide does
not contain oil, you may use an N, R, P
or HE filter.
Note: If you are unsure
which particulate filter to choose, the P100 offers the highest level of protection against both oils and non-oils.
| Not to be used with oil.
| R means "resistant to oils." Can
be used for eight hours with chemicals and pesticides that
| P means "oil proof." Can be used
with oil and non-oil hazards; may be able to use longer than
| High Efficiency, the filter used on a PAPR
(Can be used with oils.) Check with manufacturer's instructions
for time restrictions; or change when you notice a decrease
D) Which particulate filter do I use if
I am using a Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR), such as
You will use an HE, or high efficiency filter. The PAPRs use a
HEPA filter for particulates, while the half-mask and full-face
respirators use the N, R, P filters - i.e.. N95, P100.