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Respiratory Protection eTool

Respirator Change Schedules Using the Manufacturer's Recommendation to Determine a Cartridge's Service Life

Using Manufacturer's Recommendation

Chemical and respirator manufacturers may be able to provide an estimate based upon their own expertise and testing data.

Steps Example

1. Obtain the following information:

  • Names of airborne contaminants
  • Concentrations of those contaminants (in parts per million)
  • Humidity in work area
  • Work rate
Steve is the owner of an autobody shop, where the workers are exposed to paint vapors. The airborne chemical is Xylene. Steve determined through sampling that the amount of Xylene in the air doesn't exceed 400 ppm. The local weather conditions suggest an expected maximum of 55% relative humidity. Steve figures his painters and other helpers have a moderate breathing rate - their work is not as vigorous as shoveling snow.

2. Contact the manufacturer of the respirators you plan to use.

Steve checked a list of manufacturers where he located the address, fax number, and phone number of SafetyFirst, the makers of BreathEZ respirators. He phoned SafetyFirst and was directed to the Research Coordinator.

3. Provide the manufacturer with the following information:

  • Name of the respirator model
  • Information from Step 1
Steve explained to the coordinator that he had just purchased 5 new BreathEZ 450 Half Mask Respirators. He explained the situation and gave the necessary data. The coordinator said he would get back with Steve shortly.

4. Request the cartridge service life as well as the exact objective information they relied upon to project that service life.

When the coordinator called back with an estimated cartridge life recommendation of 190 minutes, Steve asked him to fax a report indicating the exact procedures and objective data that were used to derive the service life.

5. Create a written change schedule for the cartridges.

Steve applied a safety factor to the manufacturer's suggested cartridge service life and had his employees change their cartridges every two hours. He included the report from SafetyFirst and his safety factor modification in his written respiratory protection program.

Keep In Mind Keep In Mind

  • Manufacturers are likely to possess the most accurate data for their own respiratory products.
  • However, the manufacturer may not have tested the respirator with the chemicals that you work with, and therefore may not be able to offer a reliable recommendation.
List of Manufacturers
Respirator manufacturers frequently provide data, recommendations, and suggestions for the proper use of their particular product. NIOSH maintains a list of manufacturers of approved respirators which provides contact addresses, phone numbers, and, where available, e-mail addresses.
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