Dust and how to protect yourself from it.

Following the reblog of On the 14th Day comes these scribbles of mine.
They are all about breathing what you shouldn’t i.e. Contaminated Dust and in particular fallout and the reason why I frequently remind people to don a filter mask to FFP3 or P100 as you can always wash dust off but you can’t wash out your lungs.

Particle Size is the danger here only what sizes are we talking about?
TINY! Below what is visible and the average eye can just about see 50 microns.

Very small particles may be inhaled and enter the deepest regions of the lungs.
This is where the aleoli ‘live’. That’s the little air sacs in your lungs where blood is close enough to exchange gases within it to the air. There is also 30 to 100 SQUARE METERS of them and they have a thickness of only 1 cell.

What size of dust are we talking about? 0.4 microns. 0.015748 thousandths of an inch.

As particle size increases to about 10 microns and above, the dust is too big to enter the aleoli. Still too small to be seen, they usually stick in the upper respiratory tract.
This stuff can be cleared by violent coughing. Even larger stuff than that won’t pass nasal hairs .

Anyway donning a mask will help your long-term survival chances a lot.
They come in all sorts of grades and styles but I’m only interested in the fold flat types.
The ones I carry as part of my basic PPE.

ppe1It is said that the worse size for these masks to handle is 0.3 microns and that is what they are tested to.

In the UK they are rated FFP 1 to 3.
FFP3  has a filtering efficiency or 98%

In the US they are rated by NIOSH letter and number.
P-100 are fully resistant to liquids and oils. 99.97% Efficient

How good is a FFP3 or P100 mask?
They can filter 99% of all particles .3 microns or greater

No one has ever claimed that face masks are ever 100% safe and they aren’t.
Don’t ever think they are BUT they will help in a “dusty” environment.

Other things to watch out for include your eyes..
Naturally wet and thus a magnet for dust, you need to keep them covered as well.
Here are a few examples to look at in the way of protective equipment for eyes.
safetyglasses
In order the protection:-

  • Safety glasses aren’t much good at stopping driven fine dust.
  • Eye pads fit inside most glasses and form a fair to good dust barrier which is good
  • Swimming glasses rate about the same only, unlike eye pads, they won’t fit on prescription glasses. So if you are visually impaired at all they afford less protection.
  • Safety goggles. The only type that work reasonably well is those with indirect ventilation. The advantage is some designs will fit over prescription glasses.
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3 Responses to Dust and how to protect yourself from it.

  1. Rifleman III says:

    Don’t forget the openings below the waist…(enough said)

  2. Great article. In the US, for dust, I hear N95 and N100 for basic dust masks. Get the ones with exhalation valves as shown in the figure. Cost a bit more but worth it.

    • N,R,P is the grading.

      It’s important you know what that means.
      N is NOT PROOF to oils at all.
      R is SOMEWHAT RESISTANT to oils
      P. The king of the masks. FULLY RESISTANT to oils.

      As for the numbers?
      #95 = 95 % efficient
      #99 = 99 % efficient and pretty damn good
      #100 = As near as damn it perfect BUT as always, don’t think it is.

      Now I don’t know about you but the difference between N and P is a couple of bucks. What price your life?

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