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Are you prepared with personal protection gear in the event that your safety is compromised? Safety is of the utmost importance, whether you are a concerned parent who fears for your child’s safety, work in a field that has you exposed to hazardous chemicals, or even if you are just a concerned human that wants to have the proper safety gear within arm’s reach in the event that it becomes critical to your health. Personal protective equipment can include protective clothing and ensembles, eye safety, and most importantly air respirators. When hazardous chemicals are released into your environment, the chemicals can enter into your body through your skin, eyes, or through inhalation, and therefore having protection from these toxic chemicals with personal protection safety gear has become a direr need for all. Chemicals have the ability to spread rapidly and aggressively throughout the exposed environment, and inhalation can be the area with the most exposure for humans. In recent years, gas masks have been the ultimate protective solution for any chemical or gas release in the environment, however, could there be an alternative solution that can more effectively guard you against chemical exposure? Many people have begun to prepare themselves with protective air respirator masks as a form of chemical protection for their air, rather than using gas masks, but is an air respirator mask better than a gas mask?

why do people wear gas masksPersonal Protection Preparedness: Why Do People Wear Gas Masks?

Disasters, attacks, or even a chemical spill can happen unexpectantly, and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Preparation for these unwanted and alarming situations can be critical, and in many cases having the proper preparations and protective safety gear in place can significantly minimize the risks and hazards presented in the environment no matter the situation at hand. For many people who work in an environment that has the potential for chemical releases or exposure such as in a lab or plant, they will be provided with the necessary personal protective equipment as an OSHA standard, but if you are more concerned about the imminent threat of chemical exposure in your every day, you may want to collect these safety gear to have on hand in the rare case that it is required to protect your health. The area in which most people are concerned with is air protection following a chemical release, spill, or attack. The average adult inhales and exhales close to 7 or 8 liters of air per minute, a total of 11,000 liters of air in a day. Therefore, when the air in your environment has become tainted with chemicals the inherent risk of breathing in a substantial level of chemicals is significantly high. Many people will turn to gas masks as a form of protection for chemical contamination in their air. Gas masks have long been the solution for chemical protection for hazardous air in the environment, dating back as far as World War I. And if a gas mask has been used for that long, how could it not be the best choice for protection against toxic contaminants in the air?

Benefits of Wearing Mask for Protection

Air pollutants and chemicals that find their way into the environment can have a significant impact on your overall health, especially when toxic chemicals such as chemical warfare agents have invaded your air. If this occurs in your environment a mask to protect yourself could be immensely beneficial.

Depending on the chemical released in the environment the health risks of exposure could vary. Chemical exposure health risks are contingent on the type of chemical present, the amount of the chemical, the length of exposure, and the age and health of the person exposed. The potential health effects that can occur from exposure to chemicals include:

  • Organ damage
  • A weakening of the immune system
  • Reproductive problems and birth defects
  • Effects on the mental cognitive or physical development of children
  • Cancer

A protective face mask will aid in the reduction of possible exposure symptoms, thus a key benefit of utilizing a face mask. Also, face masks will filter out the small particulate matter in the air that can cause severe symptoms, this particulate matter can be a result of a fire, explosion, or even from the residue of a chemical release.

Gas Mask vs Respirator Mask

Gas masks are a protective mask used to cover a person’s face as a defense against poisonous or hazardous gases and chemicals. This type of mask will cover your face almost completely and includes a face piece or mask, along with a filter or cartridge device. Most gas masks utilize activated carbon or charcoal as a filtering technology, however, charcoal only removes certain chemicals and once the charcoal is full it will begin re-releasing the captured chemicals. Thus, gas masks are effective only if used with the correct cartridge or filter for chemical substance and it also requires more replacements for the filter, so the time for effectiveness per filter is hard to determine, especially when exposed to a hazardous environment.

A respirator, on the other hand, is usually only effective at protecting against particles. These types of masks usually do not protect against chemicals, gases, or vapors and are really intended for low hazard levels. Particulate respirators are categorized as “air-purifying respirators” because they clean particles out of the air as you breathe, which is great, but for chemical protection, respirators tend to fall short. However, what if there was a respirator that was both effective at particulate removal and chemical/gas neutralization? The FAST-ACT VapourKlenz Face Mask utilizes a proprietary technology that is highly reactive against a broad spectrum of chemicals and noxious odors including chemical warfare agents, as well as particulate removal. This mask is lightweight and can easily be carried around for immediate use, which is critical in preparedness for chemical exposure.

Why Buy a Gas Mask?

Buying a gas mask has its perks but it also has its downfalls as well. Gas masks offer protection from chemicals and gases in the environment. However, you need to be aware that not all gas masks are the same. Not all gas masks and filters are effective against chemical warfare and riot control agents. Without protection from these agents, the job of the gas mask is greatly reduced, and almost entirely useless. Thus, it is important to ensure the filter that accompanies the masks is effective at protecting against nuclear and chemical threats. Also, size and fit are critical. Many gas masks will fit differently which can significantly impact filtration of the hazardous chemical agents in the air.

Filter life on your gas mask can also become a major issue present when using it in a hazardous environment. Most gas mask filters need to be replaced within hours of initial use, which is not conducive when presented with a hazardous environment. Lastly, in the event of a chemical attack, release, or spill it is almost always too late when you get your gas mask on. Gas masks are not easily transported or carried every day, which results in a delay in getting the protection on when you need it. This can severely impact your health and can lead to high levels of exposure.

Why Buy a Chemical Respirator Mask?

Chemical respirator masks can offer a vast amount of benefits compared to gas masks for protection against chemicals and particulates. Firstly, unlike gas masks, chemical respirator masks offer protection without full face coverage. Chemical respirator masks go over the ears and will cover your nose and mouth for inhalation protection. Although this does not offer eye protection, it is for many people, a better option as it does not invoke claustrophobia in people who are claustrophobic. All you need with this chemical respirator mask is a pair of protective goggles and your face will be protected.

Also, chemical respirator masks, specifically the FAST-ACT VapourKlenz Face Mask is a broad spectrum chemical neutralization filter that is able to neutralize a vast amount of chemicals that come into contact with the filter. Gas masks only work against certain chemicals; therefore, a chemical respirator mask can offer more protection against chemicals. The filter life on a chemical respirator mask can also have a longer lifespan than that of a gas mask. Gas masks that use carbon technology filtration can fill up within hours after exposure to a toxic environment, whereas a chemical respirator mask, FAST-ACT VapourKlenz Face Mask, will last up to 3 months in hazardous conditions. Lastly, a chemical respirator mask offers more accessibility as the lightweight mask can be easily carried wherever you go, allowing you to be prepared to place the protective gear on as soon as chemicals are exposed into your environment.

Personal protection safety gear should be a concern for every and all individuals that want to protect themselves and the ones they love in the case of an emergency situation like a chemical attack or spill. Having the proper protective safety gear such as a chemical respirator mask will aid you in minimizing exposure and protecting your overall health.