In my last post I discussed the 6001 organic vapor cartridge and the 6000 half face piece and 7500 half face piece masks it is compatible with. I recently had a customer who wanted to step up his protection from one of these half face piece masks to a full face piece mask. Here was his question:
Three months ago I bought a 3M half face respirator for working with lead paint work. It fits well and still works just fine, but I need to step up to full face protection. As I have mentioned, I have worn a half face respirator before, but never a full face respirator. How can I determine my size?
If you know your size in the half face respirator and it seals well, I would suggest buying the same size in the 6000 full face respirator. The sizing in the full face respirators is actually much more forgiving because it seals along flatter parts of your face, like your forehead. This makes achieving a good seal much easier in the full face respirator than in the half face, which seals along more complex facial features like the bridge of the nose.
The customer followed up with a few more questions: Is peripheral vision effected at all? Do full face masks fog up easily?
Your peripheral vision will be affected somewhat. The lens in the mask is pretty wide but you will probably notice some restriction. I would say putting on the full face mask is like wearing a new pair of glasses; after a short while you don't even notice. Some people do find the full face masks a little claustrophobic, which is a good thing to be aware of if you get claustrophobic easily.
The full face masks do not fog up easily. The mask has a nose cup that is pretty good at directing your exhaled breath out of the mask.
This customer, working on a rough job site, also had a great suggestion for keeping his masks and filters in good condition. He bought a small, durable metal case to house his gear when he was not using it. As buying a full face respirator is a bit of an investment, this is great idea to keep you mask looking and working like new.
As always when wearing a mask, make sure you are getting a good seal. A mask that fits is a mask that seals well.