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Respiratory Protection - Removing Odours

Respiratory Protection - Removing Odours

Matt Piggin |

Removing Odours

Have you ever noticed when using a strong smelling substance like solvent or glue, that even when using a good quality respirator you can still smell the product through it?
Respirators are used to protect our lungs from dusts, particulates, chemicals, pollens and any airborne contaminant that we do not want in our airways. Whether using a simple dust mask or a positive pressure air supplied style mask these are usually only set up with P1, P2, P3 or N95 style filtration, which is fantastic for removing all the aforementioned airborne baddies, but what they do not do is remove odours and tastes.
To remove these smells you need to use a carbon filter, these are often found in water purification as well as air.
Particulate filters are capable of removing dust and other allergens such as mould, while carbon filters are capable of filtering out smoke, fumes and odours. Both however, are necessary for completely improved air quality across many different industries.
Carbon filters are designed to neutralise smells and odours. They also remove and absorb impurities, including dust, from the air using a process called adsorption.
Active carbon filters are available in both negative and positive pressure masks - You can read more about that 
Storing Your Mask
Carbon filters will continue to passively absorb odour even when not being used so always store in a sealed container when not in use. How long they last will vary greatly with factors like quality / style of mask, environment, quality of filter and storage all playing there part. A good indication that it's time to replace the carbon filter, is once you can faintly smell or taste the odours you are supposed to be protected from.
Are Activated Carbon Filters Safe? 
Yes. activated carbon filters and air purifiers that use a PM 2.5 activated carbon filter are safe for use in commercial and residential spaces. Moreover, activated carbon filters are effective at removing volatile organic compounds commonly found in most households.
Understanding your environment and application, then matching it with the correct respirator will always give you the best protection. Not sure what you need? Feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help find a solution.
*Originally Posted by Matt Piggin on 28th November 2022

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