Half masks or full face masks
Half mask respirator
A respiratory protective half mask only covers the lower part of the face (nose and mouth). It is composed by a soft seal and an adjustable harness to ensure the breathing tracts safety. Half mask respirators however presents two main usage restrictions:
- Substances to filter shall not be irritant to the eyes like chlorine, ammonia and derivatives or nitrous, sulfuric, hydrochloric acids…
- Filtering cartridges shall not be over 300 grams which limits the particles and gases combined cartridges like the well known ABEK2-P3 filtering cartridges
Full face respirator
A full face respirator – also known as panoramic respirator – offer users a large field of view up to 98%. Even if they are heavier than a half mask respirators, they provide full protection of the breathing tracts (nose and mouth) and eyes as well which makes them safer.
Thanks to their 5 straps, they can be equipped with filtering cartridges over 300 grams including complete particles and gas protective combinations like ABEK2-P3 filters which are the most common cartridges used in industry.
Single or dual cartridge respirator
There are two major gas mask categories: single filter gas masks equipped with RD DIN 40 filters (universal standard 40mm thread) and dual filter gas masks – more compact, with a large field of view and better balance:
Single cartridge respirator
As all the major gas mask brands provide RD DN 40 filters (with 40mm thread), we offer a very large range of filtering cartridges against volatile organic compounds (AX filters), acids (B or E filters) ammonia and its derivatives (K filters), mercury (Hg filters), iodine (REACTOR filters) and even protection against some carbon and nitrogen oxides (CO-NO filters).
Dual cartridge respirator
A dual filter gas mask is oftentimes chosen for its compact size and weight. Filtering cartridges are mounted on both sides of the mask, which offers a large field of view and an optimal weight balance. This is beneficial to users doing detail work or long working hours sanding or welding.
Gas mask filter
There are different types of gas mask filters depending on gases or vapors nature. Each filter type is labeled with a letter and a color code specific to each gas or gas family according to the EN14687 European standard. There is likely – for each gas or gas family – three respiratory protection efficiency classes defined by the EN143 and EN143/A1 standards:
According to the mask type (half mask or full face mask), maximal allowed concentrations of toxic substances (gas or vapor) will be different – 50 times the OEL (occupational exposure limit) for a half mask respirator and 2000 times the OEL for a full-face mask respirator.
- Class 1: Canister filter (like A1 or ABEK1) – lower capacity efficiency, gas rate below 0,1% volume
- Class 2: Cartridge filter (like A2B2 or ABEK2) – intermediate capacity, gas rate below 0.5% volume
- Class 3: For a gas rate below 1% volume
Particles filters are gathered into three categories:
- P1 class – lower efficiency, blocking at least 80% of the substance (penetration below 20%)
- P2 class – intermediate efficiency, blocking at least 94% of the substance (penetration below 6%)
- P3 class – higher efficiency, blocking at least 99,95% of the substance (penetration below 0,05%)
Gas and particles combined respirator cartridge
As suggested by their name, combined filters block both gases and particles. Air first enters the particle filter and then goes through the gas filter (composed of activated carbon). Their codification remains the same with letters (for gases), figures (for the efficiency class) and the particle class level: example ABEK2-P3
Gas mask usage limits
A filtering respiratory personal protective equipment must not be used in the following situations:
- Ambient oxygen rate below 19%
- Confined space or any poorly ventilated area entry – like tunnels, boat slips, tanks…
- If the concentration is unknown or immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH)
- If the concentration exceeds the allowable level or the filter capacity