Respirators Demystified: Picking the Right Protection
Breathing difficulties — When choosing a respirator, straight answers are surprisingly hard to find.
When I was in trade school, one of my instructors—a crusty mason I admired for his encyclopedic building knowledge and cheeky humor—was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died soon after. His disease, a condition associated with asbestos exposure, was almost certainly linked to his decades spent on job sites without protective equipment. Since then, I’ve worn a respirator pretty religiously. But what I hadn’t thought about until I started reporting this story is whether that respirator is really protecting me.
It wasn’t long after my boss asked me to write a quick guide to respirators that my ignorance caught up with me. I assumed that somewhere, there exists an elegant flowchart or decision tree that would have me in and out of this article in a couple days.
Sad to say, it is not so.
While it’s not rocket surgery, a lot more goes into picking…