High-Performance Respirator Cartridges

Thoughts on respirator cartridges that really work. August 17, 2009

Since I have started spraying about two years ago I have always used Organic Vapor cartridges. This is what the vendors have always recommended to me. I have never been satisfied with them. The do not filter out enough and no matter if it is a brand new cartridge I can still smell and feel the effects of the pre cat and post cat lacquers and conversion varnishes.

I decided a short while back that I wanted to get a more comfortable respirator half mask. I found a 3M 7500 series mask and it had a list of cartridges that would fit it. Well, I saw a cartridge I hadn't seen before. It was an Organic Vapor/Acid Gas cartridge. Well, I have got to tell you. If you aren't using one of these you should be. What an amazing difference. I smell nothing, I don't feel any effects of spraying these lacquers. I figure that there must be a few guys out there with this problem and would like to offer my solution.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
You shouldn't have been able to smell anything with the other ones. It sounds more like a mask fitting problem to me.

From the original questioner:
Three different masks, same result.

From contributor D:
I had the same problem and found the same solution. My problem tended to be only with pigmented products, not clears. The acid gas cartridges worked great. However, I started using some Gerson one piece respirators that you use up and throw away, rather than replace the cartridge. These have just the organic vapor cartridges and seem to work fine. I guess as long as you find a solution that works for you.

From the original questioner:
All my finishes are acid cure and that is what I was tasting at the end of the day. A bitter taste left over on my tongue. The OV/AG cartridge is 50 cents more than the OV cartridge. So for a little extra money I get clean air. It is like night and day. I use MLC Magnamax, Krystal and Resistant mostly.

From contributor B:
If youíre in a booth that isnít getting proper cross-flow ventilation, that could be your problem. I used to use the DeVilleBiss cartridge masks, and I had the same problem, so instead of buying a different brand of the same filter-type mask, I bought a supplied air mask. You can pick up a brand new one for $500. It will pay for itself over time, as those VOC absorbing mask filters as quite expensive (also, always store your cartridge-style masks in a publix bag or sealed bag, as they will continue to absorb gases when not in use, killing your filters faster).

Basically what the mask is, is an air pump you place outside your booth in a clean fresh atmosphere, and it just pumps the air from the box outside your booth through a tube leading to a mask you wear. This is better, as you can spray and breathe fresh and clean air, even in a booth with no ventilation. The only downside is that now you have another hose to get in the way, and have to hold, but I think it is well worth it, as my health and life are more important to me than saving a few bucks. (Although I donít recommend spraying with no ventilation).

From contributor R:
I was interested in this post because I use primarily Magnamax and Krystal as well. So I looked up the acid gases cartridges and it says they are specifically for "Chlorine, Hydrogen Chloride, Chlorine Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide and Hydrogen Sulfide." When I checked the ingredients for Magnamax and Krystal, none of these were listed.

Does anyone have any inside knowledge about this? I've always heard that Organic Vapors cartridges were all you needed for Magnamax and Krystal. I've never had a problem with them.

On the other hand, while looking at the Acid Gases cartridges I noticed they have an Organic Vapors/Formaldehyde cartridge. I do know that both Magnamax and Krystal contain formaldehyde, but is it a case where itís such a small amount that this cartridge isn't necessary?