If you are cutting, routing or sanding wood dust is a constant byproduct of woodworking. The truth is, you can’t make things out of wood without producing some dust.
Wood dust particles smaller than the naked eyes continue to float in the air long after you are finished sanding or cutting.
These specks of dust are dangerous to our respiratory systems, and they make us cough or sneeze, causing allergies and even make asthma worse. They can also lead to sinus as well as nose and lung cancer.
But, you will need a second line of defence, like covering your nose and mouth with a good dust respirator.
Which Dust Respirator To Use In The UK?
Let’s look at the most common dust respirator you would find. The first is the white disposable dust masks you can buy at any hardware store or home centre.
If there is one strap or you’re shopping for masks at the pharmacy, these are not suitable for wood dust so don’t buy them.
The single strap doesn’t pull the mask tightly enough against your nose, cheeks or chin, and there is a thin layer of filtering material.
These are nuisance masks, and they would not protect you from dust.
Two Straps Mask Is Effective Against Dust
The two-strap masks like ZAWTR it is a true dust respirator, and the double straps pulled the mask securely in place on your face.
This respirator mask has multiple layers of filtration, including a pre-filter layer that traps the coarser dust.
There are also have a carbon filter layer in the inside for trapping the finer dust and odours in the soft-single brand, respirator. It even has a silicone gasket that goes all the way around to create a double-sealed for a more comfortable fit.
Some respirators will have an exhalation valve in the middle, and others won’t. If you wear safety or prescription glasses, you’ll appreciate having this valve which keeps moisture from creeping in and fogging your lens.
Tips for Buying Dust Masks At Hardware Stores
When buying a mask at stores pays attention to the numbers printed on the mask. First, there will be a B. N. P. or R followed by the numbers 95, 99 or 100.
The National Institute for occupational safety and health has created a simple system to help us understand the level of filter efficiency. So, make sure to go to the link I provided to know the levels.
Aside from the white disposable respirators, there’s a second category of reusable respirators. These include the NASUM mask, which is flexible and feature silicone.
It has two pleated filters on it and an exhalation valve. Then, there is the newer style of reusable respirator, like the TOMSHOO. It is made of soft mesh with a wide hook and loop that makes it easier to put on.
The Advantages Of The Both Mask
The advantages of the Nasum and Tomshoo masks: the filters are replaceable when they get dirty. Pop-out the old ones, install a new filter, without replacing the complete mask.
Depending on the respirator you can install other cartridge style filter to protect you against other harmful vapours, mists, gases or chemicals. One respirator with the right filters installed could serve all of your needs.
Further, if you have facial hair or thick beard, this can compromise the seal around the dust respirators.
A Powered Air Purifier Dust Mask For Breads And Glasses
A dusk mask like the Air Sheild Pro gives those who have beards the protection they need. These go on like a hard hat and cover your entire head.
The fabric face seal with an elastic band fits behind your jaw and against your face and neck. The electric motor draws air through the two filters and down inside the helmet.
This creates positive air pressure to keep the dusty air out and has an impact-rated shield that acts as safety glasses for some task.