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Welding Fumes Respirators and Others!


Ok first thing is some general info, as with a lot of things in life and work or trades. The misuse or the wrong use of terms.
The letter designators at the start of the cartridge descriptor:

N =Not to be used with oil.

R =R means "resistant to oils." Can be used for eight hours with chemicals and pesticides that contain oil.

P =P means "oil proof." Can be used with oil and non-oil hazards; may be able to use longer than eight hours.

HE =High Efficiency, the filter used on a PAPR (Can be used with oils.) Check with manufacturer's instructions for time restrictions; or change when you notice a decrease in airflow.

Chemical Cartridge Color Coding
All manufacturers use the same color coding for gas/vapor protection

Color Type
White ☼ Acid Gas
Black ☼ Organic Vapors
Green ☼ Ammonia Gas
Yellow ☼ Acid Gas & Organic Vapor
Olive ☼ Mulit-gas (protects against numerous gases and vapors)
Magenta ☼ Particulate Filter Cartridge (HEPA) (Also called P100)
(A HEPA is a particulate filter; all others are used for gases and/or vapors.)

Particulate respirators, filters and pre-filters - trap solid and liquid particles such as dusts, mists and fumes. They can be found in the form of a disposable respirator, or in the form of a "pre-filter", which can be used in conjunction with a chemical cartridge. The filters should be changed according to the manufacturer's instructions or when you experience excessive breathing resistance.

Chemical cartridges - (Gas and/or Vapor-removing Cartridge-type Respirators) are filled with specially treated activated carbon which will adsorb certain gases and/or vapors. You should change the cartridges when you taste or smell a substance, or your eyes, throat or respiratory system become irritated. It's best to schedule a cartridge "change-out" before you notice that you are being exposed to the contaminant.

Not for use in atmospheres, Immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH is a term that you will see over and over when looking at APR's (Air Purifying Respirators) What most people call masks.

In IDLH atmospheres the concentrations are high enough or the substance is dangerous enough that exposure could kill you. If you must enter, you will need a respirator that supplies breathable air, such as a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) unit, which consists of a portable tank of air; or a supplied air system (with an emergency escape bottle), which supplies air via a pump or an air compressor.

Disposable APR's they can be reused for their suggested life span, generally a shift in a workplace.

Then they go from use once and toss, thru the (PAPR) Powered Air Purifying Respirators thru the SCBA, and supplied air/airline

The numbers after the letter designator 95/99/100 are at least 95%/99%/99.97% filter efficient for the particulates

3M N95 Particulate rated for welding fumes
Good For Welding on stainless steel, aluminum,galvanized steel and ozone and nuisance organic vapors may be present.

This is the one that is sold by most LWS or online it is also The one that I use as a hobbyist they last a long time,they have real straps and are adjustable. As it is recommended that after each use you store them in a zip lock plastic bag.

They aren't cheap at the LWS they are about $7.00 each
When you get them on line make sure that they are rated for "WELDING FUMES".

As there are N95 that are only particulate/dust rated. They are cheaper, there are also cheaper disposable welding fume respirator half mask by 3m etc. The major difference is in the bands that hold it with a good fit to your face and the material that seals and fits around your face. They do not last as long in reuse, as the ones I mention above

I would say that what systems you need or care to have will depend on the amount of usage and type of work you are using.

You can use a better grade of respirator for dust or other. But never use them for (sand) media blasting, or asbestos

Belt mounted welding half mask respirator Sperian

Hobby air respirator

one source of 3M masks

Due to the photo limits per post this is part One


Re: Welding fumes respirators and others!

I use a cheaper one for wire brushing, grinding etc.

Comfort Masks, for dusts and minor irritants

3 versions of dust masks

These are strictly for nuisance dust particulates, They offer NO protection for even a tack weld against zinc fumes etc.
NO protection

Part three to follow


Re: Welding fumes respirators and others!


A dual cartridge respirator,Norton brand now called North

Cartridges/pre-filter caps and inserts

A N95(black) N100(magenta)

Just a side note why pre-filters are important, with out them the cartridges plug up quite fast. Even with them some of the coal dust and soot would get thru.
2 underfeed stokers,Kewannee locomotive type boiler,firesides along with 25 feet of stack breaching.

Part FOUR,next


Re: Welding fumes respirators and others!


Another dual cartridge, SAS brand Survivor air systems now part of Sperian Co

A single cartridge,Glendale brand

Why the cartridge pre filter is important

Finally a fire department SCBA full mask, from an auction of surplus equipment. It is a Survivor air system now Sperian when I get some free time, I am planning on contacting Sperian to find out if they have an adapter rig to fit this mask and low pressure air supply source.

It can not be shouted loud enough, that you must read the package of the mask to be sure it is the proper one for the use you want to put it thru.

If you spray paint you will need one type cartridge,
If you spray pesticides you will need another,
If you media blast you will need one that is rated for that type of work as some of the ones do not work or are rated for silica dust.
Welding fumes are another one that are separate use ones.

Always disassemble your respirator, and clean it according to the makers instructions, also store in a zip lock to lengthen its service life.

So educate yourself, and use the correct safety equipment. anything else is at you life and limb!


Re: Welding fumes respirators and others!

As a follow up bit of info, Other than the first respirator by 3M that clearly states that it is for welding fumes.

None of the other respirators shown, other than the SCBA fire mask. Will offer Any Protection for any of the welding fumes with out the proper cartridge or cartridges

Ray Cardoza

Last Subscription Date
Re: Welding fumes respirators and others!

If you plan on using the scba unit make sure the little exahlation valves are working properly. if they are not the whole lens will fog up.


Last Subscription Date
Re: Welding fumes respirators and others!

Well worth the money, especially in hot weather. It helps keep the welder cool also.

3M™ Speedglas 9100 Air Welding Helmet
New Respiratory Welding Helmet
New Respiratory Welding Helmet
All of the benefits of the 9100 Welding Helmet can now be used in combination with powered or supplied air respiratory protection.

•The air duct provides a refreshing airflow across the entire breathing zone
•The all-new face seal readily follows the contours of shield and face
•Superior optical performance
•High-comfort headband
•SideWindows Shade 5

See the complete Speedglas 9100 range!

Powered Air RespiratorPowered Air RespiratorMore InformationPowered Air RespiratorSupplied Air RespiratorSupplied Air RespiratorMore InformationSupplied Air Respirator

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Re: Welding fumes respirators and others!

Whatever you do, make sure you wear a respirator while welding/grinding.
Went to the docs for my physical and after getting blood work done I tested positive for Chromium.
Be safe.