Respiratory Frequently Asked Questions

Let our Respiratory FAQ help you choose the best safety full-mask or half-mask face respirators for your work site. All our safety respirators are certified by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH. Respirators protect workers from breathing contaminated and/or oxygen-deficient air with or without other engineering controls in place. If you're allergic to latex face masks, shop our silicone respirator equipment.

While our disposable face respirators can't be reused, change the particulate filter on a reusable protective respirator when breathing becomes difficult. Class "R" filters can only be used for a total of 8 hours use when used for protection against particulates containing oil or in settings with oil particulates. Learn more with our Respiratory FAQ and manufacturers' descriptions that you will find listed below each workplace safety respirator in our collection. We carry the best construction site safety gear for less with our lowest negotiated prices, bulk-buy discounts and free shipping on qualifying orders. If you have questions, consult our friendly, knowledgeable staff.

Q: Who certifies respirators?

A: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Q: When is the use of a respirator required?

A: OSHA’s respirator standard, (29 CFR 1910.134), requires the use of respirators to protect employees from breathing contaminated and/or oxygen deficient air when effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted. Several other OSHA regulations also require the use of respirators.

Q: Can any respirator be used?

A: No, respirators shall be selected on the basis of hazards to which he worker is exposed for example, particulates, vapors, oxygen-deficiency, or a combination. Also, OSHA requires the use of certified respirators.

Q: Can I mix and match components from different respirator manufacturers?

A: NO, each manufacturer has specifics that are not interchangeable.

Q: How often should it be cleaned and disinfected?

A: Disposable respirators cannot be disinfected, and are therefore assigned to only one person. Disposable respirators must be discarded if they are soiled, physically damaged, or reach the end of their service life. Replaceable filter respirators may be shared, but must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each use before being worn by a different person, using the procedures in (Appendix B-2 of 29 CFR 1910.134), or equally effective procedures recommended by the manufacturer.

Q: Which masks are good for people that are allergic to latex?

A: Silicone Masks are the standard for those with allergic reaction to latex.

Q: Do the Pancake Series flexi-fit, fit under welding helmets and faceshields?

A: Yes. These filters are low profile, designed specifically to fit under most welding helmets and faceshields, including the narrow shell designs, such as the Fibre-Metal Futura Series.

Q: Do the flexi-fit have less protection time than the regular filters?

A: NO, the flexi-fit are made with the same standards, they just allow helmets to be worn without interfering with your respirator.

Q: How can one tell when it is time to change a particulate filter?

A: When breathing becomes difficult because of filter loading from the particulate. Class “R” filters are restricted to a total of 8 hours use when used for protection against particulates containing oil or in oil atmospheres.

Q: What is the shelf life of a filter or cartridge?

A: There is no shelf life for these products. They should be good for future use as long as they are kept in the original package and stored in a clean, dry location and not exposed to contaminants.

Q: Can you use a gas vapor cartridge for protection against fumes?

A: No, true fumes are particulates and thus a particulate filter is appropriate for this type of contaminant. Many users confuse fumes and vapors. Fumes are solid dispersions usually formed by condensing metal that had been vaporized as in welding.

Q: Are the face masks anti fog?