In this article we will be talking about how often to replace disposable dust masks. While regular nuisance masks can last for longer, they only offer very little protection. Disposable masks last for a shorter period of time, but they offer much more protection against airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) established a limit of mask usage of less than 8 hours and an exposure of dust levels of less than 200 mg. If these conditions are fulfilled and the person is not working in a bio safety lab, the mask can be reused.
But when should it be changed? Here are a few guidelines to take in consideration. You should change your mask if:
It Is Dirty
If the mask starts to change its color from white to brown, black or something else, then it’s time to throw it away and get a new one! Multiple uses can get the mask soiled or contaminated, and when that happens it is not effective anymore.
Not only it doesn’t protect you against various particles, but it can even do you harm. Breathing will become difficult and you might get sick. The mask can also get soiled when kept in improper places. So when not using it, make sure to place it in a sealed plastic bag or a clean drawer.
It Is Damaged
Because of the thin fabric they are made of, dust masks can break very easily. This can happen because of many reasons, but if a mask is broken or has a hole in it, then it is no longer effective. Throw it away and get a new one, otherwise you risk ingesting toxic particles.
Definitely do not try to fix the mask yourself, to apply duct tape, glue or something similar. Just get a brand new mask and throw away the broken one.
It Is Shared
Sharing a disposable dust mask is definitely not acceptable, because germs can easily be transmitted from one person to another. NIOSH does not encourage sharing a dust mask, and neither do we. So if someone else used your mask, just throw it away and use a new one.
It Is Used for More than 8 Hours Straight
Even if the mask is not dirty, broken or shared but it has been used for more than 8 hours straight, NIOSH recommends to change it. Germs may have formed inside, so it’s safer to just get a new one.
Disposable dust masks are not expensive, so it’s better to change them as often as needed instead of risking your health. Here at Protect Life we have a wide variety of masks to choose from, made of high quality materials and approved by NIOSH. Click here and get your set of masks today!