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Tag: face mask respirator

N95 Respirator Mask Types: Basic Information

The N95 is the most popular series of particulate respirator masks that meet United States government standards. The face masks are tested to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants by NIOSH – the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. NIOSH has nine total approval classes, N95, N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99, P100 organized by oil compatibility, and filter efficiency.

The letter signifies how the filter tests in environments exposed to oil aerosols:

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N95, N99, & N100-These filters are not to be used with oil aerosols. These should be used in environments exposed to particulates that do not contain oil. In many cases, the n- respirators can be reused multiple times.

R95, R99, & R100- These filters are oil resistant. The r- respirators can be used in atmospheres containing particulates any solid or liquid hazard including oil-based hazards. These are one-time use masks.

P95, P99, and P100- This filter is evidence of oil. These respirators can be used in environments exposed to harmful particulates. The p- respirator worn during use limitations.

The number of filter efficiency refers to the percentage of airborne particulate released in the test: 95%, 99%, and 100%. If the mask is NIOSH approved it will have the stamp of approval class printed on the respirator.

NIOSH approved masks also come in different sizes, and a well-fitting mask is vitally important. When test-fitting an N95 mask or another particulate respirator mask, follow these easy steps:

  1. Press the mask (respirator ) firmly against the face with the outside nosepiece on the bridge of your nose.
  2. Stretch and position the top headband on the back of your head above your ears. Stretch the bottom headband over the head and position below your ears.