I recently had a customer ask me about what organic vapor cartridges would be appropriate for his job. Let's explore the options.
I have a 1/2 mask 3M 7500 respirator and am looking for organic vapor cartridges. My immediate uses are for dealing with organic solvents and various VOC's such as MEK (acetone), toluene, and gasoline. I am also a licensed commercial pesticide applicator and am looking for a cartridge that would double for that application. This involves mostly suspensions (I use the 3M 2091 for those) and organo phosphates. What are your suggestions?
When purchasing the 3M 7500 half face respirator, I suggest buying the 6001 organic vapor cartridges for most applications. The 3M 6001 Organic Vapor Cartridge is NIOSH approved for a wide variety of organic vapors. Each cartridge contains granulated charcoal that is treated to absorb organic vapors from the air that passes through the cartridge as you inhale. It is used mainly to protect against solvents, such as those in oil based paints. Other organic vapors it absorbs would include paint thinner, lacquer thinner, turpentine and fuel vapors. So in this case the 6001 cartridge works for all of the solvents that our customer has mentioned. In addition to fitting on the 7500 mask, this filter also can be used with the 6000 half face piece respirator.
As mentioned above, the 3M 6001 cartridge will fit on either the 7500 or the 6000 mask. When choosing a size, look for a comfortable fit. When you put on the mask, with cartridges attached, you should not smell or taste the solvent. When you start to smell it, then it is time to change the cartridges. There is no set limit on this time. Less solvents mean the carbon (activated charcoal) lasts longer. More solvent concentration means less time. Whenever possible, work in a well ventilated area to help avoid solvent contact with your eyes as an added precaution.
It is also important to remember that if you are going to be spraying any of these organic solvents a prefilter needs to be used in conjunction with the 6001 cartridge. For paint spray and pesticide applications, use with a prefilter such as the 5P71 or 5N11 and filter retainer 501 to hold them. The 501 retainers are reusable.
Before starting any job where you will risk coming in contact with harmful vapors or dusts, it is important to have the proper protection. Research what chemicals you may come in contact with and what the best filters are to avoid inhaling those chemicals. If you have any more specific questions about a job you are planning, as always, feel free to contact us for advice.