Respirators can generally be divided into two primary categories: cheaper, single-use disposable masks and reusable respirators that employ more sophisticated cartridges to filter the air. Reusable respirators are also known as air-purifying respirators, abbreviated as APR on occasion, and can be divided further into two common types:
Full-face respirators and half-mask respirators. Knowing which type of respirator to use in the varying circumstances and hazards that may exist is critical! Disposable masks do not filter the air in the same way reusable respirators do. Therefore, always do your research to know when it’s appropriate to use a disposable mask or a reusable respirator.
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Like disposable masks and respirators can be reused, a half-mask respirator and full-face respirator each have sets of each state in which using one of the preferred or even mandates on the other. As a general rule, a half-mask respirator is used in situations where the eyes do not need to be protected from steam or air which they are exposed to.
Many gases that may be present in hazardous areas may irritate or cause severe damage to the eyes. This situation, obviously, would mandate that a person using a full-face respirator. A common example of a person using a full face respirator is a firefighter.
Of course, people always have a supply of air, but they use a full-face respirator to protect their eyes from the thick smoke put off by the fire. The situation is often where the half-mask respirator that is used is when the painting. Many industrial workers who paint products as part of the manufacturing process will be wearing a half-mask respirator because the paint may not harm the eye and, therefore, may not be necessary