Consumer and industrial masks can protect you while you're
working with solvents,
adhesives, and other commonly-used things that can irritate or even damage
lungs, irritate eyes and nasal passages. Long-term exposure also increases
risk of certain serious diseases such as cancer. Consumer and industrial
masks are not meant for biological hazards, even though some
filter particles below 1 - 5 microns (which is common for anthrax). They
are available at do-it-yourself home centers and hardware stores, like
Home Depot, or you may use our product
Bio-hazard protection requires the mask to have an airtight seal around
your nose and mouth, and, sometimes, your eyes. Disposable masks might
not seal adequately or filter finely enough. Realistically, half and full-face
masks would have to be professionally fitted to ensure such a seal. Even
then, one would have to decontaminate their home and themselves before
removing the mask. One would also have to know about the nature and presence
of the bio-hazard beforehand for so that an effective mask could be selected.
Purchase a mask to protect yourself against more common household hazards.
Wear the correct type of mask when painting, staining, sanding and other
home-improvement tasks that generate airborne particles and vapors.
See our article on masks types for advice
on which mask to use for protection against common airborne hazards.
Select a mask that has been approved by the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) specifically
for the purpose. Look for the approval on the package.
Prior to removing a mask from your face, clear the area of dust and other
contaminants or move into a clean area. Remove dust from your clothes
to avoid breathing it in.
Throw away disposable masks outside, enclosing them in plastic. Clean
non-disposable masks outside following the manufacturer's directions.
Don't opt for military-style gas masks. Unlike commonly-available consumer
or industrial masks, they often do not provide clearly-written instructions
or guidelines for application and use.
Resources and Further Reading:
Types of Masks and Respirators
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