Fumes & Respirators
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  1. #1
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    Fumes & Respirators

    I weld in my garage with the overhead door open at least a foor or two. Definitely a hobby welder.

    Should I wear a respirator beneath my welding helmet?

    I currently have a respirator I bought for stripping furniture. It's a North 5500 - 30M
    (P/N 5500 - IIM)

    It has two filter canisters labelled NIOSH OV Part No N7500 - 1 (with these filters inside North N95 NIOSH 7506N95).

    If I should be wearing a respirator - is this type sufficient?
    "These instructions are at our present level of
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  2. #2
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    You might be able to use your respirator, if it will fit under your welding helmet. You will need to change the filters to welding fume type filters.

    Usually welding fume respirators are designed in such a way as to fit under your welding helmet. But when you purchase a respirator take your welding helmet with you to make sure it will work or ask the manufacturers about the fit up.
    AWS certified welding inspector
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  3. #3
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    The type of welding you do will also affect this. Stick and FC make a lot of smoke, and smoke rises. Even with the door wide open a respirator would make good sense as well as a decent fan to help remove the fumes. Mig would be less of an issue and tig usually makes the least fumes. Your choice of material matters also. Welding galvanized metal indoors is not a good idea without lots of ventilation and the proper respirator. Paint, oil and other contaminants on your material will aslo cause breathing issues. Also don't forget grinding. If you do a lot of grinding indoors it's a good idea to wear some sort of partical mask.

    A last thought. guys often forget that facial hair will cause issues getting a good seal with respirators. On one job at a chemical plant I had to go to, if you had a beard it had to come off and mustaches had to be trimmed short so your mask would seal tight. They'd give you a razor and shaving cream to clean up before they'd fit you for the required PPE.
    .



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  4. #4
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Quote Originally Posted by DSW View Post
    The type of welding you do will also affect this. Stick and FC make a lot of smoke, and smoke rises. Even with the door wide open a respirator would make good sense as well as a decent fan to help remove the fumes. Mig would be less of an issue and tig usually makes the least fumes. Your choice of material matters also. Welding galvanized metal indoors is not a good idea without lots of ventilation and the proper respirator. Paint, oil and other contaminants on your material will aslo cause breathing issues. Also don't forget grinding. If you do a lot of grinding indoors it's a good idea to wear some sort of partical mask.

    A last thought. guys often forget that facial hair will cause issues getting a good seal with respirators. On one job at a chemical plant I had to go to, if you had a beard it had to come off and mustaches had to be trimmed short so your mask would seal tight. They'd give you a razor and shaving cream to clean up before they'd fit you for the required PPE.
    which is a functional reason for the facial hair regulations in the military - so your pro mask will seal.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    IF you have a positive pressure mask (such as an ad-flo), facial hair isn't a problem. The issue with those is cost though.

  6. #6
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    We use the 3M 8210 dust masks at work, white at the start of the day and brown at the end. It's not just smoke but basically everything that burns out of whatever you are working with. Copper plate on mig wire for instance. Or chromium 6 from stainless when tig welding. Or nuiscance dust when grinding.
    The masks can be a pain in the butt, but they work.
    Believe half of what you read and none of what you hear.

  7. #7
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    My grandfather did quite a bit of welding, and died from lung cancer even though he never smoked. No one can prove what caused his cancer, but I've always suspected welding fumes.

    I use the 3M 7500 series respirator with 3M 2091 cartridges, which fits under my Jackson shield. I like that the 7500 exhausts your breath down rather than straight out onto the welding lens. It's rare for me to blow anything black out of my nose. Oddly enough, I've never had anybody even make a joke about my wearing the respirator. You can find them with the filters already on them on ebay for $20 or so. There are at least 3 sizes - 7501, 02, and 03, which are small through large. Extra filters run $4-$8 a pair depending on where you get them.
    Applied Fabrications, LLC

    Mobile Welding / Mechanical Repair in VA's Piedmont & Shenandoah Valley

  8. #8

    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Hi tbone550,

    I found your above post to be of the same way of thinking as mine as far as respirators are concerned. I have never welded though but my second thought -after coming up with idea to learn to weld- was safety. Your eyes, face, and body are quite protected in general but as long as there are heavy fumes involved almost all the time I thought of protecting my anatomical airways straight away. Honestly speaking and after some research I was really surprised to know that a lot of welders simply never wear any respiratory protection at all...

    I was wondering is the mask (M3 7500) that you suggest any better of disposable 3M let's say P100 respirators? The mask has the same filters attached to it as the disposable respirator hasn't it? I mean to say (this is just a graphical example to pass the idea as doing it for real will not work ) If I took the disposable respirators and attached each of them to 7500 mask in place of its filters would I have the same results? I assume the filters of the same resistance of course?

    Plus, doesn't it (M3 7500) bother you if you have any facial hair? I guess as long as it is all rubber (silicone?) on where it seals to the skin no stubble should be a problem of not protecting you well?
    Last edited by Den7; 05-13-2012 at 07:45 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    I used to use these 3M disposable masks. I recently brought a 7500 series 3M instead of spending money and throwing it in the bin.

    On occasion, you could still smell the welding or grinding, but with the 7500, not at all. With the disposables i would still get a little black stuff in my nose on a long day. Not with the 7500.


    With the 7500 i get no smell, no black stuff in my nose, it seals better than a disposable as the seal edge is about 15mm+ wide and is a lot more comfortable for long wearing.

    The replacement filters dont cost near as much as a disposable mask.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Hey Den7, this entire thread is over a year old, but I still use the 7500 every time. Had it on this morning for a short job before heading to see Mom for Mother's Day.

    I have no use for disposable respirators. They don't fit my face at all, so the air I breathe in doesn't come through the filter part, it takes the path of least resistance and comes around the edge of the mask. Usually around the nose or chin area for me. So in effect I'm still breathing unfiltered air. Trust me, using a respirator is a little of a pain - you want to know it's doing its job in exchange for the extra hassle of dealing with it.

    You can do your own "fit test" for your respirator (the real kind, with removable cartridges) by holding your hands over the cartridge intakes and breathing in. If the whole mask sucks in around your face and no air comes in, the fit is good. Unfortunately you can't do that test with the 2091 filters because of their huge surface area. But regular cartridges will work. It's probably worth it to buy a couple cheap cartridges just for fit-testing so you can know 'for sure' that your respirator is sealing to your face. This is basically what they do at an OSHA approved fit test, but with fancy gizmos and the addition of measuring your lung capacity to be sure your lungs are capable of handling a respirator.

    As far as facial hair goes, I'll let it grow on days I'm not welding, but I shave if I'm going to be wearing the respirator. The hair causes the respirator to leak, no two ways about it. I've heard people say they can wear one with their beard and it doesn't leak. To this I say, "Bull Pucky."

    As a side note, I think it's probably just as important to have a respirator on when grinding or using powered abrasives of any type, as it is to have a respirator on when welding. That dust is nasty stuff.

    So in summary, the way I look at it is that if I'm going to go to the trouble of filtering the air I breathe, I'm going to do it right. No facial hair and no glorified dust masks. I wear my respirator when running a welder, torch, or powered abrasive tool of any type. And a year after my previous post, the only comments I've gotten about it are, "Good idea," and "Where can I get one of those?"
    Applied Fabrications, LLC

    Mobile Welding / Mechanical Repair in VA's Piedmont & Shenandoah Valley

  11. #11

    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryO View Post
    I used to use these 3M disposable masks. I recently brought a 7500 series 3M instead of spending money and throwing it in the bin.

    On occasion, you could still smell the welding or grinding, but with the 7500, not at all. With the disposables i would still get a little black stuff in my nose on a long day. Not with the 7500.


    With the 7500 i get no smell, no black stuff in my nose, it seals better than a disposable as the seal edge is about 15mm+ wide and is a lot more comfortable for long wearing.

    The replacement filters dont cost near as much as a disposable mask.
    Thank you so much for sharing LarryO. That's very useful to know. Do you use cartridges or just filters for compactness? Se the pictures attached.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  12. #12
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    I use filters. Cartridges wont fit under a welding hood i dont think.

    When i brought my kit, it was labeled a welders pack. It had mask, 2 sets of filters, 2 sets of sanitary wipes and 2 sets of ear plugs.

  13. #13

    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Quote Originally Posted by tbone550 View Post
    Hey Den7, this entire thread is over a year old, but I still use the 7500 every time. Had it on this morning for a short job before heading to see Mom for Mother's Day.

    I have no use for disposable respirators. They don't fit my face at all, so the air I breathe in doesn't come through the filter part, it takes the path of least resistance and comes around the edge of the mask. Usually around the nose or chin area for me. So in effect I'm still breathing unfiltered air. Trust me, using a respirator is a little of a pain - you want to know it's doing its job in exchange for the extra hassle of dealing with it.

    You can do your own "fit test" for your respirator (the real kind, with removable cartridges) by holding your hands over the cartridge intakes and breathing in. If the whole mask sucks in around your face and no air comes in, the fit is good. Unfortunately you can't do that test with the 2091 filters because of their huge surface area. But regular cartridges will work. It's probably worth it to buy a couple cheap cartridges just for fit-testing so you can know 'for sure' that your respirator is sealing to your face. This is basically what they do at an OSHA approved fit test, but with fancy gizmos and the addition of measuring your lung capacity to be sure your lungs are capable of handling a respirator.

    As far as facial hair goes, I'll let it grow on days I'm not welding, but I shave if I'm going to be wearing the respirator. The hair causes the respirator to leak, no two ways about it. I've heard people say they can wear one with their beard and it doesn't leak. To this I say, "Bull Pucky."

    As a side note, I think it's probably just as important to have a respirator on when grinding or using powered abrasives of any type, as it is to have a respirator on when welding. That dust is nasty stuff.

    So in summary, the way I look at it is that if I'm going to go to the trouble of filtering the air I breathe, I'm going to do it right. No facial hair and no glorified dust masks. I wear my respirator when running a welder, torch, or powered abrasive tool of any type. And a year after my previous post, the only comments I've gotten about it are, "Good idea," and "Where can I get one of those?"
    Many thanks for your insights tbone550! I really do appreciate!

    Since I am a certified and practicing scuba diver I know what it means to wear a mask generally but welding is all new to me even though techniques of doing the fit test you described are absolutely the same.

    As far as facial hair is concerned I think it has to be the same as well except for the fact that in welding you put your health at risk when in scuba-diving you simply clear the mask off of the water at practically any depths. When I dive I try to shave real well as it is much more comfortable to put your mask on before entering the water and take it off after surfacing instead of re-adjusting, twisting, cleaning, taking off and putting back on during the dive. The difference is that little stubble in scuba-diving is usually not a problem at all (the masks normally always get a few drops of water inside of them as depth increases) whereas a beard and moustache up to your navel could be real nuisance However, I assume that in welding even little bristle will make your masks leak won't it?

    Do you use filters or cartridges as per pictures attached? Cartridges are quite thicker in size and may require bigger welding helmets. Filters also have the same mounts the cartridges do but they are more compact.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  14. #14

    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryO View Post
    I use filters. Cartridges wont fit under a welding hood i dont think.

    When i brought my kit, it was labeled a welders pack. It had mask, 2 sets of filters, 2 sets of sanitary wipes and 2 sets of ear plugs.
    I thought as much. However, there are big welding helmets used in ship building if I am not mistaken so wouldn't cartridges fit under those?

    Welding let's say community where I reside is seriously lagging behind so there are no packs like you mention in here.

    I was also wondering.. your signature says "Speedglass 9000x adflow.. all at home.." so if you own adflow why would you need filters and masks if you don't mind me asking?
    Last edited by Den7; 05-15-2012 at 07:47 AM.

  15. #15
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    The Adflo is good for large jobs. When i have to weld for more than a couple of hours, then the Adflo comes out. Mine is not flex view, so i cant use for grinding purposes.
    Also good in hot weather as it blows a nice breeze in your face on full power.

    I do wear my 7500 for painting, grinding, welding and sweeping the floor when im finished.

  16. #16
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    You don't need cartridges for general welding. Weld fumes are metal and metal oxide particulates, so you need a filter, like the round pink one in your photo, or similar. Cartridges are for organic vapors or other select gasses, based on what they are rated for. Obviously you need the filters that are made by the same company that made your mask, as they are only made to fit each manufacturer's masks (by law - in the US).
    -Dave
    XMT304, 22A Feeder

  17. #17

    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Well, as far as I understand it now the welding fumes are actually devided into two categories. The first one consists of a very small particles of metal oxides and the second one generates potentially harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, gaseous flouride, phosgene, and hexavalent chromium produced when electrodes coatings and wires are burned. Heavy particles (metal oxides) are stopped by very simple filters such as N95 for example and all the other gases of the second category get right into your lungs without any problems. However, if you use "tougher" filters such as P100 (round pink one in my photo) or selected cartridges for the gases mentioned above then you should be 100% protected from all the sh**. Thank you guys for your help
    Last edited by Den7; 05-24-2012 at 04:57 PM.

  18. #18
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    How do you know when the filters need to be changed? I'm getting a 7500 mask, just curious about how long P100 filters usually last. Thanks
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  19. #19

    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Quote Originally Posted by hypothecary View Post
    How do you know when the filters need to be changed? I'm getting a 7500 mask, just curious about how long P100 filters usually last. Thanks
    Well, theoretically it should all boil down to physics and mathematics. In order to determine how long the filters could last first you need to know the number of harmful particles ejected into the air inside the room where the stuff is welded. It's called concentration. There are special detectors that automatically measure this number for you. Then you have to divide the number of harmful particles by the volume of the room. V (volume of the room) = L (length) multiply by W (width) multiply by H (height). After that you have to match your data against PEL (permissible exposure limits) published by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or match it against TLV (threshold limit values) published by ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists). The ACGIH is not that conservative and allows higher exposure limits as far as I am aware. All these limits are usually considered either by 8 hours TWA (time-weighted average) which in other words means our regular daily shift or 15 minutes STEL (short-term exposure limits). Thus, theoretically any filter should be OK to be worn for eight hours straight or for 15 minutes normally during some not related to welding activities provided you are not using it where it won't last even a few minutes.

    Each filter has its own APF (assigned protective factor). For example a filter of APF 10 is going to be used when exposed to hexavalent chromium (stainless still welding). The welder is going to weld for eight hours. Our maximum TWA (8 hours) exposure in accordance with OSHA is 5 micrograms per cubic meter of hexavalent chromium. The actual exposure is 25 micgrograms per cubic meter (we determined it earlier by dividing the number of harmful particles by the volume of the room). Consequently, the APF 10 filter is going to be a half more than enough because 10 multiplied by 5 = 50 micrograms (maximum) when the actual exposure is only 25.

    This is pure theory when in practice it is actually impossible to determine the limits when you weld outside for example. What is the volume of "outside"? Plus I think when welding outside unexpected sudden guts of wind may quickly blow the fumes into your nose and mouth so that you won't have time to turn your head the other way. It sounds very interesting in theory but again in practice you change the filters when you feel, smell, and taste something I guess. Logically thinking and to be on the safe side I would change my filters after each 8 hours shift of the full time welding inside (this is what OSHA and filters' producers recommend us to do) despite the fact of having all the necessary and mandatory ventilation installed; and most probably I would change them as twice as less often when welding outside that is every two 8 hours shifts. I believe that ideally, the change should be performed after each 8 hours shift of the full time welding anyway. It costs money all right (it's not that expensive by the way) but filters can be changed unlike your health.

    This is just mere theory I've been studying and going through lately. It would be also nice to hear any comments of those who practice welding daily. How do you guys go about changing your filters? How often do you do it for real?
    Last edited by Den7; 05-25-2012 at 08:15 AM.

  20. #20
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    I change them when they're harder to breathe through. I have had stretches of time when I've gone 6 months with the same ones, and other times when I've gone a couple of weeks.

    This might not be the right way to do it, but at the end of the 'life' of the filter I'm still not blowing out any black junk, coughing, etc.
    Applied Fabrications, LLC

    Mobile Welding / Mechanical Repair in VA's Piedmont & Shenandoah Valley

  21. #21
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Quote Originally Posted by tbone550 View Post
    I change them when they're harder to breathe through. I have had stretches of time when I've gone 6 months with the same ones, and other times when I've gone a couple of weeks.

    This might not be the right way to do it, but at the end of the 'life' of the filter I'm still not blowing out any black junk, coughing, etc.
    I recon your right tbone.

    Im sure the instructions that come with it give some sort of description on what your saying about filter change times.

  22. #22
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=30200

    This topic was covered a few years ago in the thread linked above.

    From the 2901 user manual:

    Time Use Limitation
    If filter becomes damaged, soiled,
    or breathing becomes difficult, leave
    the contaminated area and dispose
    of the filter. If used in environments
    containing only oil aerosols, dispose
    of filter after 40 hours of use or
    30 days, whichever is first.

    Link for manual: http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawe...6EVs6E666666--

    Based on the statement in the manual the "when they're harder to breath through" idea is correct, assuming you keep them intact and clean otherwise.

    Thanks guys.
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  23. #23

    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Hey, that's a very useful piece of information hypothecary! Thanks for sharing!

    I haven't checked the manuals yet as I moved on to taking a closer look at supplied air purifying systems. It looks like that the manuals from all this welding stuff and equipment could be your next books for consulting along with the welding classes' / courses' textbooks. The local welding shop assistant told me that quite a lot of people just buy welding machines / units and self-teach themselves how to weld by using manuals. Honestly speaking I tend to believe it as far as MIG/MAG hobby welding is concerned. Is that not true is it?

    When the M3 7500 mask with the 2901 filters is the one of the best affordable solutions I guess there is also another one which is just a bit more expensive (not a whole lot expensive like adflo) but could be worth-while giving it a try I assume. I would appreciate it guys if you took a look at it here http://www.migtigarg.co.uk/Welding_H...g_helmets.html and told me what you think? If the link does not work simply go to its main LTD (www.migtigarc.co.uk), select welding helmets and scroll down to the very bottom of the page where all the air fed welding helmets are located. I think ESAB and Jackson Air Feds are pretty cool and almost as twice as cheap as Speedglas adflo. Although I hear that ESAB and Jackson lag behind real big compared to Speedglas. Could you share your opinion on that one, please? I understand that this is all budget-based and it depends on how thick your wallet actually is and how much you care about your health and its protection and how knowledgeable you in fact are but.. on the other hand setting a fan nearby to blow the fumes away in addition to any mandatory ventilation when welding inside could be the option as well.
    Last edited by Den7; 06-02-2012 at 09:04 AM.

  24. #24

    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    periodically, I cut down 50 to 70 year old septic tanks with a torch, my question is that what type of respirator do I need for this task?

  25. #25
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    Re: Fumes & Respirators

    Quote Originally Posted by krash661 View Post
    periodically, I cut down 50 to 70 year old septic tanks with a torch, my question is that what type of respirator do I need for this task?
    I don't know of anything that can help you with that! Phew! Maybe a positive pressure mask?
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