In the shop, while your body presents the largest target for injuries because of its sheer size, and the fact that your hands are often in close proximity to sharp edges, it is an injury or damage above the shoulders that can have the most debilitating and lasting effect. My respiratory doctor says he likes and regularly uses his air cleaner but does not rely on it for anything except keeping his finishes from being spoiled with dust contamination. These powered face shield respirators are the perfect solution for anyone that is involved in a dusty and noisy operation. An FFP3 respirator is advisable if you are exposed to high levels of grain dust or mould spores. Dust collectors and air filters help reduce what’s in the air, but neither provides the frontline defense you’ll get by donning a mask or respirator.
However, extended exposure to virtually ANY wood dust will eventually lead to problems. Seems like that would allow a good bit of air in. I haven’t noticed a problem with it since the mask allows air out. Air filters most commonly will use furnace filters for the pre-filter, with an array of felt-like bag filters on the inside. Although most small shop woodworkers should exhaust their shop air outside, most do not.
Most of these are designed primarily for removing vapors and mists…but will also remove airborne dust particles, providing a fibrous pre-filter is also used. But in this conversation, it really is the Cadillac of dust masks,” which means you’ll pay a Cadillac price. If you are a turner or are sensitive to dust then you should seriously consider a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) with face shield. For regular use, however, the respirators do not offer enough convince features.
I’ve mounted an air cleaner on the ceiling that exchanges all the air in my shop about every 8 minutes. This kind of mumbo jumbo is important because not all masks have filtration required for fine particle dust. These batteries, as used on mobile telephones, still provide a full eight hours of fresh, clean air at a rate of 160 litres/minute and are easily recharged overnight using the supplied battery charger and charging dock.
Unlike the respirators that you are going to find at the home center, the 3M line of respirators come in different sizes. I decided the problem was bad air so bought ever larger and more expensive air cleaners, but the meter showed most barely kept a small area around the cleaner clean. Inhalation of hardwood dust is associated with a particular type of nasal and nasal sinus cancer (adenocarcinoma). They’re useful for large things like grass clippings, but not so much for wood dust.
In a residential environment where dust collection systems are often not present or inefficient, this rule is of critical importance. These cartridge respirators are a great choice when applying wood finishes in enclosed areas, especially during winter months when ventilation can be difficult. Half-face respirators also cover the nose and mouth, but do so while resting under the chin.