|Masks For Mold|
This page contains educational material about masks people use when they have to be around mold or cleaning up mold. This information is for educational purposes only. Nothing in this text is intended to serve as medical advice. All medical decisions should be made only with the guidance of your own personal medical authority. I am doing my best to get this data up quickly and correctly. If you find errors in this data, please let me know.
The type of mask/respirator you purchase may change depending on if you are cleaning up a moldy building or if you are looking for something to wear while out going into stores etc. Be aware that some masks can be cleaned/washed and some can't. Some materials tend to hold onto smells that may bother chemically sensitive people. I personally used a standard respirator and found that after wearing it in a moldy environment where I was cleaning, the respirator had worked well but I could not use it again as the mask now smelled moldy. Perhaps if I had soaked it in a quaternary ammonium product it would have taken care of the issue, but I did not try that. I currently use an N95 respirator which only takes out 95% of the particles and does not get the tiniest stuff. However, it works for me for brief trips into moldy areas such as your local moldy store.
The standard is a HEPA rated filter. You should look for either P100 or N100 ratings. That is, 99.7% of all particles 0.3 microns and larger will be filtered out. This is the most efficient filter offered for use on respirators, and will very effectively trap mold spores. As a further refinement, a layer of charcoal will absorb the vapors given off by active mold growth. This may be a thin layer as in the 3M 2097, or a cartridge such as the Moldex 7600 Multi-gas.
For mold clean up the mask usually suggestesd is a full-face respirator because mold spores affect and can enter the body through the nose, mouth and eyes. Using a full-face respirator, we are filtering all of the air reaching these critical areas. It may be that a half mask and goggles will work, but why take the chance? Also, we need to consider the chemical used to clean up the mold, so protecting they eyes is important there too.
Here is what PK Safety suggests and offers at their website. I am not connected to this company. http://www.pksafety.com
Our best selling full-face mask and filter combo for this application is the Moldex 9000-7600 Asbestos and Mold Full Face Respirator. They are offered in 3 sizes, though in general the fit on a full-face respirator is moreFull-Face Mask and Filter forgiving than the half mask style. Please also note that prescription glasses are not recommended, as the temples will interfere with the mask seal.
Once in use, we should probably think about changing the P100 filters fairly regularly if used in mold removal. The spores do get trapped pretty well, but it’s best to get them in a garbage bag and down the road rather than hanging around. The multi-gas cartridges should last a good while, and only need to be replaced when you can start to smell odors through it.
Here are some links to purchase a variety of types of masks:
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