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Is a Respirator The Suitable Mask Choice For Spray Painting?

Is a Respirator The Suitable Mask Choice For Spray Painting?

Posted by Karla on 30th Jun 2022

Is a Respirator The Suitable Mask Choice For Spray Painting?

Whilst spray painting or using a primer, it is essential that you are taking measures to protect your eyes and lungs. Many artists or users of these neglect protective clothing and underestimate the level of harm these aerosols can cause. Almost all paints contain hazardous chemicals that can cause health problems and even cancer. If you do not shield yourself from the paints chemicals, you are more likely to breathe in the vapours that are left in the air after spraying. The standard spray painting mask or respirator is usually one that is worn over the face and held in place by an elastic band. But which are the most suitable for a painter to use and why?

Why do you need a respiratory mask when spray painting?

The most hazardous is spraying primer or painting with acrylic, especially when these are oil based products. This is because they emit a thick vapor that stays in the air a long time after you have applied it to your surfaces. If you are directly exposed to these chemicals, especially for a long period of time, you risk becoming ill. Even up to an hour after the initial application, you may experience dizziness, confusion, headaches and nausea if you are not properly protected.

The best way to protect yourself is to wear a respirator. This will filter any harmful gases and fumes in order to keep the air safe. If you can smell or taste the paint through a mask, it's either not properly fitted or you're using the incorrect cartridge. It is always recommended that you always wear a respirator when painting rather than a dust mask as this will not filter the chemicals.

How to choose the correct respirator for spray painting

It is best to choose your type of respirator based on the area of where you will be applying the paint or primer, or the level of pollution. Manufacturers will always include instructions and recommendations that must be followed however. Usually a half face respirator with cartridges and P100 filters will save you from many spray painting harmful vapors. If you are in a position where there is a case of multi components or hybrid coatings, you will be best making your respirator decision on the solvent you are using, or by following the manufacturers instructions. 

Do you need a full face or half respirator?

The half face and full face masks are the most commonly used for spray painting. As suggested in the name, the full face respirator conceals your entire face, preventing any exposure to both your lungs, eyes and skin. These are a fantastic safe and reliable option but aren't always totally suitable for spray painting. For example, if spraying ceilings, the face shield will eventually be covered in paint, therefore restricting your visibility and will have to be cleaned or wiped off more regularly.

A half face mask respirator is a popular choice for spray painters, especially when spray painting items such as cabinets. These can be used with several 3M filters and cartridges, making it a brilliant versatile option. The half face masks are also reusable, with two connecting straps that can be adjusted for comfort. These will securely fit to your face and hold it in place.

Instead of purchasing respirators, filters and cartridges separately, to save money you can usually purchase them all together, as long as you are replacing the filters with manufacturers recommended replacement time range. Usually, a filtr will last for up to 6 months, or for 40 hours once they come out of the pack.

To shop the full range of products and suitable respirators or face masks, head over to our face masks category