Which Respirator

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Jeremy, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I'm looking to buy a respirator for use in my Alt Process studio and am looking for suggestions from those with experience in this area.

    Processes: pt/pd, gum, wetplate, cyanotype, pyrocat developer

    Probably the big 3 chemicals: formaldehyde, ether, ammonium dichromate
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2007
  2. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    That's the right mask/filter set - you may need to look elsewhere though to get it. Last I heard, (and this may have changed) Grainger only sold to business accounts. They may retail through their website. If you can't get it from them, Home Depot and Lowes sell similar masks with appropriate organic vapor cartridges. If you can try them on before you commit to one, that's best, because a major factor in their success is how well the mask fits. The cartriges could be effective against organic vapors, biohazards, and molecular radiological particulates but they won't do you a damn bit of good if the mask doesn't form a good seal on your face. You should keep absolutely cleanshaven when using one, or your stubble will break the seal.
     
  4. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    There are some fumes that require special cartridges such as formaldehyde. But these can be purchased to fit your respirator.
     
  5. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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  6. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Mine is an AOSafety half mask dual cartridge. It takes R15 organic vapor cartridges but for formaldehyde you need to use R60a cartridges. I bought mine at Home Depot with the R15 cartridges and ordered the formaldehyde R60a cartridges online.
     
  7. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    One of the dangers of these "nuisance masks" is that they rarely, if ever, have an end-of-use indicator. Consequently depending upon them is quite risky. If you are careful and change them every few months (or what ever their useful life might be) you may be fine, but there is really no way of knowing.

    If you have the space, time, and skill building a good ventilation system over your wet-area and a small fume-hood for use with powders is much safer, assuming you build and test it appropriately. It may seem more expensive in the short run ($250 for a good extractor motor, $100 for pipe, $100 for wood, plus assorted hardware), however if you consider the cost of replacing the nuisance masks filters every few months it is really not so bad.
     
  8. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    So sorry! You are correct Scott. If you do have a DBA or LLC it is easy enough to get an account and they are a great source for many things I end up needing.
     
  9. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    I think all you need is an EIN. Employer Identification Number. Which is a federal tax number. You can get this on line by filling out the form on the IRS web site. It doesn't cost anything. At least this was the case when I opened an account with Clarkson Labs.
     
  10. gminerich

    gminerich Guest

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    Respirators come in several sizes and require proper fitting. Every brand's size is also different. If they are not properly fit they offer reduced or no protection. If you want to use a respirator you should go to a safety supply dealer and have one fit to your face. Every brand of filter is different as well and one manufacturer's filter may not offer similar protection to another brand. Consult the safety dealer's information for proper filters based on chemical to be protected from. Please also note that different filters have a limited life based on chemical concentration and time in use. Good ventilation is a much wiser approach to protect yourself.

    George
     
  11. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Why not use both good ventilation and a respirator. I have exhaust fans in my darkroom. But at times, depending on the chemicals, I'll still use a respirator. I always order extra cartridges and keep them on hand and write the date on the ones when you install them. This will give you a good idea of when they are near expiration. I'm working with chemicals like ether, pyro, formaldehyde and potassium cyanide and have never had any problems. (knock on wood). Any chemical can be worked with safely if proper care is taken such as good ventilation, skin protection, eye protection and the use of a respirator. The proper size and fit can be obtained when ordering by looking at the sizing chart. After you have the respirator on just cover the cartridges with both hands and inhale, you'll know if it is fitting properly. Just no facial hair along the edge that seals around the face. When we were doing retro-fits on some of the old bridges I had guys that I had to let go because they refused to cut their beards. There is a lot of lead paint on those old bridges. So these guys were quiting 40 dollar an hour jobs.
     
  12. Bandicoot

    Bandicoot Member

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    The only option if you have a beard is a powered respirator, which is what I have (the IAEA, amongst others, use one identical to mine.) This has a belt mounted fan unit that pulls air through a set of filters and then blows it down over your face inside a mask. This produces positive pressure inside the mask, so the seal against the face is no longer the key factor. You can get different types of cartridges for them, including ones for organics, though I'm not certain whether that includes formaldehyde.

    The other advantages of these are that the constant air stream means the visor doesn't mist up, your face is kept cool, and you have none of the extra strain on your lungs that pulling air in through a conventional mask requires. The downsides are the initial cost and the need to keep the batteries charged.

    I once opened the door to someone while wearing one of these, thinking it was a colleague who I was expecting but it wasn't. The door to door salesman left in a hurry, looking over his shoulder wondering where the black helicopters were...


    Peter
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    A poorly fitted respirator is more dangerous than none at all. One tends to put one's face where it should not be when one thinks that it is safe to do so.

    I construct a small fume hood when I sensitize my carbon tissue (using acetone as the carrier for the dichromate).

    I also stopped using a hair drier for drying freshly coated platinum/paladium paper -- as it was spreading platinum and palladium dust all around and I developed very bad asthma symptoms from it (but it took 5 years of contact)...I just air dry now, and I think I even have better prints because of it (at least I breath easier!)

    Vaughn
     
  14. Ytlas

    Ytlas Member

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    There are a couple of fit tests to perform to see if the respirator fits. First is to put on the respirator and adjust the straps. You then put your palms over the front of the cartridges and inhale slightly. You should feel the respirator stick to the face. If you feel air coming in, readjust the straps and try again. You then put your palm on the exhalation valve and blow. The respirator should gently lift off the face. If you feel air escaping from where it shouldn't be, readjust the straps. After our fit tests, we used to go into an enclosure filled with banana oil vapor wearing the respirator with vapor cartridges to check if we could smell it.
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you get a respirator, make sure you find out if
    you have to remove the cartridges
    and put them in a sealed bag between uses.
    sometimes they lose their vitality if left out "to breath on their own" ...
    or so i have been told ....
     
  16. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Thanks for all the help! I'm currently planning on doing the chemical mixing in the garage wearing the respirator and the doors cracked (empty garage, nothing stored except boxes from our recent move). I'll look into making a fume/vent hood that can pipe out fumes from my tray line in the studio out the window. Finally, I'll head over to Lowe's and try on the 3M 6000 line of masks because I can buy the formaldehyde/organic vapors filters for those.
     
  17. RobertP

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    John, Yes you are right about leaving them out. We have one of those vacuum sealers and I just vacuum seal them in a bag until I need them again.