Dust masks (disposable)

Dust masks – most commonly known as disposable masks are a bit special respiratory protective units. Contrary to classic equipment, they are made for single use and the whole facepiece is made of air purifying materials.

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How to choose a dust mask

The main asset of a dust mask is its weight. As it does not feature a filter cartridge, the weight of this kind of mask is reduced to the lowest. The user doesn’t feel the mask and isn’t bothered by it thanks to the soft and hypoallergenic coating of the dust mask. Advanced models feature an exhalation valve for easy breathing and no overheating during longer or physical applications.

Each dust mask is individually packed to avoid any degradation of the other masks when the user comes to replace his/her mask. The efficiency level is associated to the color of the mask (3 colors), in order to avoid any error.

FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3 dust masks

Dust masks are regulated under the same standards than classic air purifying respiratory protective devices and thus are well suited for professionals. They are gathered into three categories according to their filtration level:

- FFP1 masks: Minimum 80% of aerosol filtration. Mainly used for handiwork or operations with thin dust (glass wool, coal, softwood…)

- FFP2 masks: Minimum 94% of aerosol filtration. Mainly used in industry, against thin particles or flu viruses (bird flu, H1N1 influenza, SARS, tuberculosis).

- FFP3 masks: Minimum 99.97% of aerosol filtration. This is the highest level of protection, mainly used against very thin particles (asbestos, ceramic fibers, rock wool…)

FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3 dust masks

These are masks that protect against dust and have an additional active carbon layer to remove unpleasant odors. Because of the different “purifying” layers, they usually feature a respiratory valve. They offer optimal comfort for long-term applications.

Examples of applications for FFP1, FFP2 & FFP3 masks

As they are appropriate for both professionals and individuals, disposable dust masks can be used for many applications. Depending on the chosen level of filtration, they can be used at lower costs.

FFP1 masks applications (examples)

Field of activityActivityParticle type
Construction, mining operationFoundationsConcrete dust
Construction, mining operationConcrete handlingConcrete dust
Construction, mining operationInsulation installationDust and fibers
Metal treatmentDrillingSteelwork dust
Metal treatmentSawingSteelwork dust

FFP2 masks applications (examples)

Field of activityActivityParticle type
WoodworkSandingHardwood and softwood, thin particles, wood dust
WoodworkSlicingHardwood and softwood, thin particles, wood dust
WoodworkPaint strippingThin paint particles
Sanding, grindingRust/corrosion scouringRust, corrosion and steel dust
Sanding, grindingStonework/concreteRock dust
Sanding, grindingHardwood and softwoodWood dust
Sanding, grindingSynthetic, plasticsSynthetic dust
Sanding, grindingPaintingPaint particles
Sanding, grindingIron/steelSteelwork dust
Sanding, grindingAdhesive removalThin dust
Construction, mining operationWater-based paintingLarge paint particles
Construction, mining operationSprayed varnishPaint mist
Construction, mining operationDemolitionAny dust type
Construction, mining operationConcrete castingThin plaster particles
Construction, mining operationWoodworkHardwood and softwood particles
Construction, mining operationRoofing and flooringRoofing and flooring particles
Construction, mining operationMineThin rock particles
Metal treatmentBrazingFumes

FFP2 Odor masks applications (examples)

Waste removalDusty environments cleaningDust, FFP2 Odor
Waste removalFloor sweepingDust, FFP2 Odor
Waste removalWastewater removalBacteria, fungi, FFP2 Odor

FFP3 masks applications (examples)

Field of activityActivityParticle type
WoodworkWood coloration (dye with copper or chromium)Thin paint mist
WoodworkWood coloration (dye with copper or chromium)Thin paint particles
Sanding, grindingPaint (with chromium)Paint particles
Sanding, grindingStainless steelSteelwork particles
Construction, mining operationZincSteelwork fumes
Construction, mining operationAluminiumAluminum oxides fumes
Construction, mining operationStainless steelSteelwork oxides fumes
Construction, mining operationManual arc weldingSparkles, fumes
Construction, mining operationLaser weldingSparkles, fumess
Elimination des déchêtsWaste removalDust
Elimination des déchêtsMedical wasteBacteria, fungi

Dust mask usage restrictions

Even if a dust mask offers a very interesting protection / comfort / price, it does not protect its user against particles. It thus cannot be worn if gases or vapors are present in the concerned atmosphere. In this case, the user must select a half mask with gas and particle filters.

Beyond concentrations over 30 times the OEL (occupational exposure limit value), the efficiency of a FFP3 disposable mask is compromised. User shall then select a powered air purifying respirator or a mask with a filter cartridge. Lastly, if the nature of the pollutant and/or the oxygen rate in ambient air is unknown, every air purifying protective equipment is to be avoided and replaced by an atmosphere supplying respiratory protection..