2022 BEST Respirator For Resin - Here's Why It's NEEDED
Creating projects, furniture and gifts with epoxy resin is rewarding and can even be profitable as a business. And why wouldn't it be? Everyone loves the gorgeous, reflective surfaces and colors that are unique to resin art.
It's fun to work with resin and the variety of items you can create with epoxy is endless. You can make:
- resin tables
- river tables
- cutting boards
- resin coasters
- paper weights
- resin jewelry
- resin pours to encase dried flowers
- and more
It is easy to start making resin art and projects, but what many beginner resin artists (and even many professional resin artists) don't know, is about the risks involved in working with epoxy resin without the proper respirator and resin safety precautions.
We will tell you here and now, that a throw away disposable mask will not keep your respiratory system safe from the fumes and organic gasses that are released when you mix your epoxy resin with the hardener.
If you do have the proper equipment though, there is absolutely nothing to worry about, and you can happily continue to work on your creations!
We are going to cover what your respirator needs to have in order to protect you from those fumes, as well as share our personal recommendations.
Let's get into it.
Respirator Mask For Epoxy Resin
What Does A Proper Respirator For Resin Need To Have?
A proper respirator mask for epoxy resin will need to have the following qualifications, and we will further explain each:
- It needs to be rated as N95 or be N95 equivalent
- It needs to make a proper seal around the face
- The filters need to be able to filter organic gasses and vapors
- The filters need to be able to be replaced
- It should be easily adjustable to your head size
- It should be comfortable
N95 or N95 Equivalent Rating
What is an N95 rating? According to an article by the CDC, an N95 rating means a it "Filters at least 95% of airborne particles". So to get that rating or an equivalent rating, it must filter at least 95% of the airborne particulate matter.
The Mask Needs To Make A Proper Seal Around The Face
In order for a mask to make a proper seal around the face, there are certain things it needs to be able to do:
- It needs to make clean contact with the skin (sorry bearded friends, facial hair just will not help in this situation!)
- In terms of the material that is touching the skin, a latex or soft silicone or rubber is ideal to help make that seal. A harder rubber may slide on the skin and allow for air to come through
- It should fit perfectly on the head. If it is too loose, air could come in. If it is too tight, well that probably won't affect the seal around the face, it is just plain uncomfortable and will likely result in you having to take breaks from it
So make sure you are clean shaven (a bit of stubble is ok, keep reading below to see how to test the seal), make sure it fits your face properly and make sure no air can get in from around the seal.
How To Test If The Mask Seal Is Good
So to test if there is a proper seal around your face and is safe for use, simply cover your air intake through the filter (s) with the palms of your hands. Then, take a deep breath in. If you are still able to breathe or get a bit of air in, then the seal is not perfect.
If you find that when you breathe in and your palms get kind of sucked into the filters and no air gets in, then you are good to go. This means that the only air coming in is filtered, and that you are safe.
Proper Filters For Resin: They Must Filter Organic Gasses And Vapors
According to the Osh Wiki Networking Knowledge about gases, "organic gases can present a flammable, toxic and asphyxiation risk. Although the number of organic gases in industrial use is vast, many of these gases arise from the petrochemical and chemical industries. Examples of products from ethylene synthesis include: ethylene oxide, vinyl acetate, ethylene dichloride, acrylonitrile, styrene, butadiene, olefins, and ethanol".
So if a respirator mask is going to protect you properly from resin, it is going to have to have cartridges that can filter organic gasses and vapors as well as other chemicals, as these are present in epoxy fumes.
Filters have what is called an end-of-service life. It is the point at which they are either full or are expired and can no longer keep out the particulate and airborne matter that they were purchased for. To check this, you would have to see the details from the company you purchase your mask and filters from.
When they have reached their end-of-service, you will need to replace them. So it is important to make sure the company you purchase the mask from also sells the filters separately, or you anticipate those needs if you plan to use the it often and purchase extras.
The Respirator Should Be Adjustable
In order for the mask to fit perfectly on your face and head, it should be adjustable. Especially if you are purchasing the mask online or at a store where you can't try it on. As long as it is adjustable, you should be good to go.
This is also an important point if there are other members of your household who may also want to use it for other reasons (woodworking, cement mixing, painting and more). If the mask, whether it is a half face respirator mask or a full face mask, has adjustable straps, it should fit anyone.
Find A Comfortable Mask For Resin Work
For a mask to be comfortable, you are going to want one that is not too heavy, and one that uses soft rubber and silicone material around the parts that touch your head and face. A respirator is really never "comfortable", but you don't want it so uncomfortable that you are wanting to take it off too quickly.
So... What Is The Best Respirator For Resin?
The Best Respirator For Resin
So the best respirator for resin will have an N95 or equivalent rating, will make an airtight seal, will have replaceable cartridges that protect you from organic gasses and vapors, and it should be adjustable and comfortable.
We have a few suggestions for you:
1. Resin Respirator: The PD-100 or T-60 From Parcil
For epoxy resin art, crafts and pouring, we are recommending the PD-100 for resin work. The full face respirator is the PD-100,but you can get the same filtration protection without the face shield in the T-60 model.
We have a full face respirator and a half face respirator from Parcil, and always opt for the full face when working with resin. We personally have the PD-101, which is the mask you see me wearing in all of my photos in this article, and we will talk about this mask more below.
The PD-100 Full Face Respirator For Resin
The PD-100 comes with the P-A-1 organic vapor and particulate filters which protect you from breathing in organic gasses and vapors and a large number of other chemicals. The P-A-1 filters come with the PD-100 mask and are independently tested to protect against organic vapors and 95% of non-oil-based particulates down to 0.3 microns.
The mask itself covers your entire face and is comfortable and weighs 1.74 pounds with the filters on. So you will be able to leave it on for an extended period of time without the discomfort of a bulky respirator.
The head harness has 5 lock connection points: one on top and two on either side of the head. The harness is made from dense, durable elasticized rubber which maintains its shape and stability despite wear and tear or hot conditions. You can pull to adjust the straps easily with just one pull and it stays in place, which is something we really like about this mask.
We find the full face respirators from Parcil comfortable and light, and are able to wear them through entire resin projects.
The T-60 Half Face Respirator For Resin
If the thought of a full face respirator mask is not up your alley but you want that good protection from epoxy resins, you could opt for the T-60, which is the half face respirator version of the PD-100. It has all of the same filtering capabilities as the above mentioned mask and is comfortable.
The only difference is the face shield (which gives you eye protection without safety glasses or goggles) that is not present in the half face, and it also has less harness connection points.
This mask covers and seals around the mouth and nose only, and will properly protect your respiratory system from resin fumes.
If You Plan On Sanding Your Cured Resin, You May Want The PD-101 Respirator, which we own. We will explore that one below.
2. The PD-101 Full Face Respirator For Extra Protection
The PD-101 full face mask is the next step up from the PD-100 mask. There is only one difference though, and that is that filter style and how they are attached. The filters that come with the PD-101 are the exact same, however, they are bayonet-style and this means that they are interchangeable with more heavy duty filters from the company if you plan on working with other harsh chemicals, varnishes or solvents, or you plan on sanding your cured resin.
There are a lot of filters available through Parcil that have greater filtering capabilities for these respirators like the MaxPro P-3-0 and the KN-100 and the ParticulatePro P-3-P. which would both be fantastic for sanding or filing resin and wood products.
The MaxPro 203 ABEK1P3 filters can protect from a wide variety of organic and inorganic gases as well as solids and liquid droplets and would do the job for all purposes.
Remember, the PD-101 already comes with the filters needed for working with epoxy in its liquid state. Here are the other filter options you can buy with the mask for further uses (you can read more about each from the links below):
We highly recommend purchasing your respirator directly from Parcil as they offer free shipping, they have a 30 day return policy plus a 1 year manufacturer warranty when purchased directly from them.
All of the above mentioned masks will protect you from a wide variety of airborne particles, gasses and vapors. You can click on each to see the chemicals filtered.
We hope we helped you make a really great purchasing decision today. Again, we persoally own and use these masks ourselves and wouldn't recommend them otherwise. They are a fantastic choice for epoxies and for protecting you from exposure to gasses that could harm your lungs and respiratory tract.
Do I Need To Wear A Mask With A Non Toxic Resin?
Yes there are resins out there that state that they are "non toxic". In fact, one brand of epoxy resin that we love working with, ArtResin, says it is non toxic. This may be true when the resin and the hardener are in separate states and separate bottles.
But once the resin and hardener are mixed, they do emit fumes, and you still want to wear a proper respirator mask when you are making resin art. I always go with safety first, it's just a good habit to have.
What Happens If I Don't Wear A Respirator With Resin?
You may not have a reaction to resin immediately. Reactions to epoxy resin can happen over time due to sensitization of prolonged exposure. Some people will react immediately, some after years of unprotected use, some may never react, but it is best to be proactive when it comes to your health. I will personally never use resin in a location or room where the air circulates through my home, and I will always wear protective clothing, nitrile gloves and my full face respirator.
Check price of nitrile gloves on Amazon here (if you haven't read our resin safety article, keep in mind that latex gloves will not protect you from resin-skin or body interaction and you could develop a rash or skin reaction)
Resin also has a strong scent (some epoxies smell much stronger than others) but you shouldn't be able to smell it at all with a good mask and proper ventilation.
Thanks, and feel free to share this article to spread the word on resin safety! There are so many people who are not aware of the risks of not wearing proper protection with their resin projects.
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USE RESIN SAFELY
No matter what type of resin you decide to use, always use PPE. Do take time to carefully go over safety data sheets before making anything with resin. And it's very important to follow the instructions on the resin.
Here is the best respirator mask for epoxy resin: this PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator by Parcil Safety, who is based in the USA, checks off all of the boxes for resin safety.