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Full Face Respirators

Gypsum dust is an irritant rather than a serious health hazard

[This information is provided for guidance only]

However, the HSE Report, ‘Dust and Noise in the Construction Process’ says “since long term consequences (of exposure to gypsum powders) are not yet fully understood, control of the possible risks should be practised”.

The Health and Safety Executive stipulates Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) for building materials. These limits refer to the respirable and inhalable airborne dust particles. The limits for gypsum products are unlikely to be exceeded except in poorly ventilated or confined spaces.

Because gypsum dust may irritate the respiratory system and also skin and eyes, all operations where gypsum dust may be generated should be kept to a minimum and carried out in well ventilated areas. If dust cannot be controlled, the wearing of dust masks and safety goggles is required. To avoid skin contact, protective gloves, overalls and footwear should be worn.


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Respiratory Protection (Particulates)

In order for a mask to be used as a protective device it must be tested to EN149.
A summary of the protection levels available are summarized below.

Type (EN149:2001) Protection Against Wel* Workplace Exposure Level
FFP1 Non toxic dusts, mists HGH and fumes based on water and not oil. NOT to be used against cancer causing radioactive substances and air transmitted biological substances including enzymes 4
FFP2 Toxic dusts, mists and fumes based on water and oil 10
FFP3 Against all dusts, mists and fumes based on water and oil 20
D When quoted (e.g FFP2D) this indicated that the mask has passed the optional Dolomite clogging test. Meaning the mask will generally last longer before the filter media becomes clogged)


Respiratory Protection (Gases and Vapours)

Gases and vapours consist of molecules so small that they penetrate particulate filters. EN141 and EN 405 divide the gases vapours into different groups to help identify the correct filter. If mixtures of gases or vapours are present then a multi purpose filter should be used.

It should be known that gas and vapour filters are ineffective at removing particulates and should be used with additional FFP filters where dust, mist or fumes are present.

Gas and vapour filters are available in various combinations to cover different chemical groups and different levels of protection.

Type Protection Against
A Organic gases and vapours with boiling point >65°C
B Inorganic gases and vapours with boiling point >65°C
E Acid gases and vapours with boiling point >65°C
K Ammonia with boiling point >65°C
ABEK Special combination filter covering all of the above

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