Howdy Hippies,

This blog post is going to be for all the hippies out there. I admit it – I wear respirators. And if that wasn’t enough, mine is actually pink.  Look, I’m a home inspector. I’m in two attics and two crawlspaces everyday.  I’m exposed to fiberglass, asbestos, lead based paint and mold on an almost daily basis.   I have to protect my health and make sure that when I’m 70 years old I’m still able to enjoy doing the things I love.  This is why I wear a respirator.

So that’s what I want to talk about today. There are two different types of respirators on the market. There are air purifying respirators and supply air respirators. Supply air respirators are those respirators that supply clean air directly from a source other than the surrounding air. A scuba diver uses a type of supply air respirator. You can read more about these two on OSHA’s website

Home inspectors use air-purifying respirators. These are respirators that supply air to the user from the surrounding environment. They use cartridges and filters to remove contaminants from the air before delivering it to the user. There are three different types of respirators in the air-purifying category. They are N-100, R-100 and P-100. Lets talk about N-100 and P-100 respirators.

N-100 respirators are designed to prevent the inhalation of non-oil-based particles. These masks are great for people who work in construction and food processing plants. They are also great for folks who work in agriculture.   N-100 masks keep home inspectors safe by preventing the inhalation of lead, cadmium, and arsenic.  OSHA requires that N-100 respirators can successfully prevent the inhalation of 99.97% of these hazards when worn correctly.

P-100 respirators block even more hazards than the N-100 respirators. I use a 3M half mask with two P-100 filters. P-100 filters prevent the inhalation of all oil and non-oil based particles. In addition to what the N-100 can block, the P-100 also blocks hazardous fumes and mists. For this reason, P-100 respirators are the respirator of choice for welders. P-100 respirators also claim to block the inhalation of radon daughters, which as we know is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

One thing most people fail to realize is that different types of respirators can protect against different diseases. Have you seen those photos of all the Asian people walking down the street with those disposable facemasks on? That was when the Avian Flu was spreading like crazy through China. We joked about how silly they looked, but they were doing the right thing by wearing masks for protection.

Be Happy and Be Kind,

T.J. Thorne