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What is a Paint Respirator?

Troy Holmes
Troy Holmes

A professional painter typically uses special clothing and equipment designed to keep him safe from harmful paint chemicals. A paint respirator is a painter mask that includes two large filters designed to protect the lungs from the chemicals found in paint spray. The masks normally include heavy-duty filter canisters that filter the air breathed in by the painter.

An automobile body repair mechanic also uses a paint respirator. The respirator provides fresh air to the mechanic by filtering out the harmful debris generated during sanding metal. This sanded material typically includes harmful chemicals found in the paint, which is turned into fine toxic particles when the car is sanded.

Supplies for painting.
Supplies for painting.

There are many types of respirators available. These include basic modules that have simple carbon filters and more complicated models that include special oxygen tanks. The paint respirator is an essential safety device for protecting the lungs and internal organs from harmful chemicals.

The products used to create paint are extremely harmful for human consumption. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, kidney and liver damage, and long-term disabilities if absorbed or inhaled. Due to these harmful effects, most painters are required to wear special suits, masks, and eye protection when they work with paint equipment.

A man wearing a paint respirator.
A man wearing a paint respirator.

The paint respirator looks like a gas mask that is typically used by the military. This mask covers both the mouth and noise area and includes two, round filter canisters that filter the air before it is inhaled. The filters are easily removed and should be replaced after each usage.

The United States Department of Labor publishes regulations designed to assist employee safety and health. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific guidelines for when and how paint respirators should be used in commercial painting operations. In general, OSHA requires anyone performing commercial painting in an enclosed area to use a respirator.

Paint respirator masks are considered an inexpensive safety device. These masks can be purchased in bulk or as individual units. The primary element necessary to make the masks function correctly is the canister filter insert. These filters will require periodic replacement and should be bought in bulk sizes.

There are many artistically designed paint respirators available. These have a trendier look and include spikes, skulls, and wild paint designs on the outside of the mask. The respirator is an important safety device regardless of the appearance. Having a trendy designed mask may encourage some employees use the necessary safety equipment of the organization.

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    • Supplies for painting.
      By: Scanrail
      Supplies for painting.
    • A man wearing a paint respirator.
      By: loraks
      A man wearing a paint respirator.