Disposable Respirators

A disposable particulate respirator—also known as an “air-purifying respirator” because it protects by filtering particles out of the air as the wearer breathes—is a personal protective device that is worn on the face, covers the nose and mouth, and is used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles.  These respirators are designed to be worn once and thrown away.  Disposable respirators are NIOSH-rated for particulate protection and do not protect against gas or vapors. N95 particulate respirators are respirators that filter out at least 95% of airborne particles and have been given a 95 rating. Those that filter out at least 99% receive a “99” rating. And those that filter at least 99.97% (essentially 100%) receive a “100” rating.  NIOSH-approved disposable respirators are marked with the manufacturer’s name, the part number, the protection provided by the filter (N95, N99, N100), and “NIOSH.” If a disposable respirator does not have these markings, it has not been certified by NIOSH. Shop our selection of disposable respirators by Honeywell North, 3M, Gerson, and Moldex. Have a question? Contact Us Today!

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What are the different types of disposable masks?

  • EAR LOOP MASK - Fluid resistant and provides the wearer protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays. Typically worn by healthcare workers and help by capturing the wearer’s respiratory droplets to protect the patient against contamination. This is a loose-fitting mask with ear loop straps to hold it over the users nose and mouth. Cleared by the US Food & Drug administration (FDA) but does not have a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) rating.  Low protection.
  • N95 RESPIRATOR - Evaluated, tested & approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to ensure the filtering face piece can remove at least 95% of airborne particles.  Fluid resistant and provides the wearer protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays.  This form fitting “cup” design creates a tight seal on the wearers face when both head straps are in place.  Moderate protection. 
  • AIR PURIFYING RESPIRATOR W/ P100 FILTERS - Evaluated, tested & approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to ensure the filter can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles.  A reusable full or half face respirator can be washed and reused. New P100 filter cartridges can be changed out as needed. A P100 rating is the highest for personal respiratory protection designed to help protect the wearer from exposure to airborne particles.  Reusable respirators come in Small, Medium, and Large and feature adjustable head straps.  These masks are designed to fit tightly and create a seal between the user’s face and the respirator mask.  The P100 particulate filters attach to the respirator mask and filter at least 99.97% of airborne particles.  High protection

What is NIOSH Rating?

The NIOSH air filtration rating is the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)'s classification of filtering respirators. The ratings describe the ability of the device to protect the wearer from dust and liquid droplets in the air.  For example, N95’s are evaluated, tested & approved by NIOSH to ensure the filtering face piece can remove at least 95% of airborne particles.

When should you use masks with different ratings?

The NIOSH air filtration rating is the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)'s classification of filtering respirators. The ratings describe the ability of the device to protect the wearer from dust and liquid droplets in the air.  For example, N95’s are evaluated, tested & approved by NIOSH to ensure the filtering face piece can remove at least 95% of airborne particles.

How do Exhalation Valves work on a Mask?

The exhalation valve closes during inhalation, only allowing inhaled breath to be pulled through the respirator’s filter media, and the valve opens in order to allow exhaled breath to be expelled from the respirator through the exhalation valve, as well as the filter media.

Is there a difference between the use of medical and industrial N95 masks?

While similar in appearance, the key difference is the fluid resistance and the resulting FDA clearance of surgical N95s.

  • Industrial N95 – Help reduce particles inhaled by wearer. Used for respiratory protection when wearer might be exposed to particulate hazards
  • Medical N95 - Help reduce particles both inhaled and expelled by wearer and is fluid resistant. Used during surgery and other tasks when respiratory protection is required along with fluid resistance.
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