Why respirator discomfort can be dangerous.

January 5, 2016 3M Canada


The seemingly harmless way that respiratory health is jeopardized and what to do about it

It’s a peaceful Monday morning and you’re in the company woodshop crafting another piece of precision work.

The sawdust drifts through the air and catches in the light. You’re in that magical state of mind called ‘the groove.’

Subconsciously, you reach for the mask on your face – it feels like it’s a little hard to breathe – and for a moment, you pull it up away and take in a deep lungful of air.

It’s a seemingly harmless moment. Only a few seconds maybe. But when the job you’re doing mandates wearing a mask (which is actually a disposable respirator) those moments were never meant to happen.

After all, if the risk posed by airborne particles needs to be guarded against with personal protective equipment (PPE) then you shouldn’t be taking it off. While you may not feel the immediate effects of exposure, negative health effects may occur over the course of time.

Unfortunately, even seasoned health and safety managers know that you can lead someone to safety, but enforcing continual compliance can be a challenge. When workers are uncomfortable they may be tempted to adjust or remove their PPE, which can lead to dangerous consequences. And when it comes to disposable respirators, not all are created equal.

respirator animation

Stop pinching, itching, pulling and make it easier to breathe

While there are many features that can be designed into disposable respirators to make them work harder, it’s worthwhile to note that this also includes design features that stop them from pinching, itching and pulling your hair.

And of course – you should be able to breathe easily.

On this front, a unique technology from 3M called ‘advanced electrostatic media’ has been showing promising results in blind studies.

Though the name sounds complicated – the science behind it is easy to understand.

3M’s ‘advanced electrostatic media,’ is created when a high level of electrostatic charge is injected into the microfibers of disposable respirators during the manufacturing process. These highly-charged fibres then enhance the capture of airborne particles and make it easier to breathe by reducing ‘breathing resistance.’

Out at the worksite – what this adds up to is that at the end of a long day you can give a sigh of ‘awe’ at your finished work and breathe easy doing it, knowing that comfort and safety remained hand in hand until the job was done.

Learn more about 3M’s wide range of disposable respirators.

Previous Article
Are your safety glasses safe?
Are your safety glasses safe?

Wearing the wrong eye protection can put you at risk. Learn about selecting the right safety glasses and go...

Next Article
The science behind the force.
The science behind the force.

Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) is helping the police force make Canadian streets safer. Learn m...