When you go to your local hardware store or Home Depot, there are many face respirators that you can choose from but there is only one type that is rated to protect you from tiny mold spores that are small as .03 microns.
If you get the wrongly rated mask, they won’t protect you properly. Unfortunately, I see homeowners make this mistake all the time when I go on my mold inspections and mold removal quote jobs.
The best and only mask I recommend is a full face-piece respirator that is used with NIOSH-certified N100, R100, P100 particulate filters. The reason is the N100, R100, P100 filters are the ONLY ones tested and certified to filter mold by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The one I use is the 3M Mold Remediation Respirator – Full Facepiece 6000. This is a must in my arsenal of personal protective equipment (PPE).
I recommend a full face respirator as well because the facts are mold can get into your eyes and on your skin without one. Half-face masks, protective glasses, and or googles simply will not give you the protection you need from exposure.
In addition, the filtration and air flow quality is incredible!
You can breathe sooooooo much better with these masks then the half face masks that tend to suck onto your face, which makes it difficult to breathe and will still expose you to mold.
They are pretty darn comfortable to wear even for long stretches of time and the vision is awesome.
Please keep in mind that a respirator will only protect you if it is used correctly, so make sure you get the right size and use it the right way.
I’m 5’10” 185 pounds and have a fairly big head, so I use a large mask. If you are smaller than I am or a woman, maybe a medium might be the best fit for you.
You can find them on Amazon at this link or check them out on Amazon.
Here is what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about personal protective equipment (PPE):
Primary functions of PPE in a mold-contaminated environment are the prevention of the inhalation and ingestion of mold and mold spores and prevention of mold contact with skin or eyes.
Respirators used to protect persons from airborne contaminants (including mold and mold spores) must be certified by CDC’s NIOSH.
In addition, as specified by the OSHA respiratory protection standard, workers whose employers require them to use respirators must be properly trained, have medical clearance, and be properly fit-tested before they use the respirator.
Formal fit testing is recommended for anyone engaging in remediation work causing extensive exposure to mold.
Persons doing remediation work that involves extensive exposure to mold should have respiratory protection greater than that provided by a NIOSH-certified N-95 respirator. Full face-piece respirators that have NIOSH-certified N100, R100, P100 particulate filters are recommended.
Here is what OSHA says about storage, cautions and limitations:
Respirators must be stored to protect them from damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals. They must also be packed or stored to prevent deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve.
A good method is to place them in individual storage bins. Keep in mind that respirator facepieces will become distorted and the straps will lose their elasticity if hung on a peg for a long
Check for these problems before each use.
Storing the respirator in a plastic sealable bag after use is not considered good practice. The respirator may be damp after use and sealing, prevents drying and encourages microbial growth. If plastic bags are used, respirators must be allowed to dry before storage.
Moe Bedard is the founder of Mold Safe Inspections and manager at Mold Safe Solutions. A full-service Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) company specializing in property water damage, mold inspections, consultations, and mold remediation.
If you need help with a project, please call 760-818-6830.