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Author: Subject: Respirator Alternative
Harmless

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Respirator Alternative

So like, I don't have much money, and I need some way of... well, not inhaling dangerous fumes from common chemicals.

I was thinking that a cheap air compressor could be a great alternative if it also acts as an air tank. I mean there's some of these for $15 on amazon and the like, while I also have oxygen regulators and hoses that I could lead to my face or a gas mask that would properly seal it. Is there any problem with breathing air from an air compressor directly and isn't this much safer/better than relying on something that filters things out of the air? DrAldehyde Hazard to Self Posts: 82 Registered: 12-1-2014 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood There are a few models of respirators that use the same type of blower as an airless HVLP paint gun. Basically a vacuum that is blowing instead of sucking. I would look into that type of system before I would use a compressor for breathing air. I know that most air compressors end up putting oil into the system. I can't speak to the safety of an oilless compressor. subsecret National Hazard Posts: 426 Registered: 8-6-2013 Location: NW SC, USA Member Is Offline Mood: Human Sadness - Julian Casablancas & the Voidz It depends where your compressor is situated. If it's right beside the work area, it's just going to let you breathe more of the vapors you're talking about. In the long run, a homemade fume hood is the best option, as it's safe and convenient. Honestly, I would advise against the air compressor method, as you'll probably find it rather annoying to have a compressor going for 5 hours in the lab... I also assume that the air coming from the compressor would taste pretty bad, and depending on whether or not your compressor takes oil, well, that would be even less pleasant. Alternatively, you could buy a cheap "box fan," (I got mine at my local hardware store for under 20 USD) and wedge it in a window, thereby creating a sort of fume hood. You could even build a wooden shroud to fit around your work area, creating a somewhat real fume hood. Plus, having the air compressor feeding air just to your face allows the rest of your body to be exposed to your reagents. I'd advise against the compressor idea, it seems impractical. A fume hood would be the best option, but a box fan is a good runner-up. If your lab has no windows, do your work outside. Fear is what you get when caution wasn't enough. numos National Hazard Posts: 258 Registered: 22-2-2014 Location: Pasadena Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood It seems like a mask is way cheaper than this setup, the air compressor would have to be located away from the Chemistry, so you would need a long hose, (air compression hoses are expensive) Unless you plan to pre-fill the tank. In which case you would want a tank that can support you at LEAST 30 min, and such sized compressors are expensive. If your gonna do this might as well go all out and buy a scuba tank... Honestly face masks aren't that expensive, you can find some for under$30 and it is much more convenient... I'd hate to see the hose whack your glassware off the bench.
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 Quote: Originally posted by DrAldehyde I know that most air compressors end up putting oil into the system. I can't speak to the safety of an oilless compressor.

Yes this is pretty much what I was asking about, I was skeptical and assuming that there'd be something else in it that wasn't safe...

Even from making boric acid from borax and hydrochloric acid, holding my breath most of the time I got a couple nostril tingling wiffs as I was removing the crystals, reaction totally completed... I don't care if it makes me a pussy lol I'm going to take massive precautions.

I think I'm looking in the wrong places, but mostly my perspective of it is that you have to have specific filters for specific chemical reactions right? Do they make any that work with everything under the sun including mercury?
numos
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Holy moly! I'm sure you could save up for a gas mask - that's pretty bad!

Yes there are specific filters for some chemicals. Depending on if you get a respirator or a gas mask your filters will vary. Respirators use particulate filters, that literally "block the toxin" and then are filters that absorb and detain the toxin.
Then there are also specific types of those filters, but you'll have to read the specs on the filter to know what it protects from.
Unless your working with VX or something a respirator is usually enough,

I agree with Awesome though, a fume hood is the best option.

[Edited on 2-27-2014 by numos]
AJKOER

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Outside!

Many toxic compounds can be skin absorbed as well, so you really need to exit the area and performing the experiments outside is a good option.

Now, I am fortunate in having some privacy in my backyard and I am also somewhat removed from my neighbors. Otherwise, the outdoor option can get problematic.

I would also strongly advise selectivity in what one prepares. There are some compounds that just should be avoided altogether. Others that are problematic and should be done on a small scale. There is no substitute for good judgment and restraint after one performs extensive research and planning.
National Hazard

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You could put a length of hose pipe in your mouth and breath through that.
Harmless

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 Quote: Originally posted by AJKOER I would also strongly advise selectivity in what one prepares. There are some compounds that just should be avoided altogether. Others that are problematic and should be done on a small scale. There is no substitute for good judgment and restraint after one performs extensive research and planning.

Yea I do this all outside pretty much, boric acid sucks,

...but not using dangerous compounds takes the fun out of everything! I can't stop just because of that! haha
Marvin
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 Quote: Originally posted by forgottenpassword You could put a length of hose pipe in your mouth and breath through that.

No, don't do this. Risk of asphyxiation. How long does the hose need to be before it's volume is greater than your breath volume?

The simple cheap answer is don't mess with anything toxic until you can deal with it. Fumes, skin contact, waste disposal.

HCl is fine with minor precautions. Outside is good.
Zyklon-A
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Just make a primitive gas mask. I did it, by filling a six inch stainless steel pipe with activated charcoal, put a powder respirator on either side of the pipe, and glued it to a mouth piece. I tested it with chlorine gas, I generated some, and from 7 inches away, I could even smell it at all.
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Quote: Originally posted by Marvin
 Quote: Originally posted by forgottenpassword You could put a length of hose pipe in your mouth and breath through that.

No, don't do this. Risk of asphyxiation. How long does the hose need to be before it's volume is greater than your breath volume?

The simple cheap answer is don't mess with anything toxic until you can deal with it. Fumes, skin contact, waste disposal.

HCl is fine with minor precautions. Outside is good.
In through the mouth, out through the nose.
organicchemist25
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Just save up for a mask. Its your health and lungs. I got a good one one at a thrift store in new condition and the had a box full of unused/unopened organic vapor cartridges.

I would look around in thrift stores and we have a habitat for humanity store with a huge industrial tools area. I have found a lot of great things there including the mask and cartridges.

If you have not check places like that or have some, I would scout a few of those out. . Off subject, but also found a lot of thermostats that had mercury in them and was able to collect around 200mL of Hg.
testimento
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Suppose you're not very young, you probably use money quite liberally for something else. Be utilitarian for a while and look what you eat, and you will get money for mask. Best option is to buy the mask body from ebay or some place used, and buy a new filter for it. It'll cost few dozens of bucks total that way.

 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Chemistry in General » Respirator Alternative Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues