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A respirator with two filters

A respirator is a device designed to protect the wearer from inhaling particulate matter, including airborne microorganisms, certain fumes, vapors, gases, etc. Most types of respirators use replaceable cartridge filters.

Unlike gas masks, respirators do not cover the whole face and instead only allow protection for the mouth and nose. Safety goggles are used together with respirators. Respirators also offer limited protection against gaseous compounds, they're more suitable for particulate matter.


Respirators consist of a plastic mask, fitted with a semi-rigid belt-like headwear which allows it to be placed on the head. Similar to a gas mask, there are two valves on the side of the plastic mask, where air filters can be added.

While some respirators also come with a face shield, many advanced respirator models may be considered true gas masks.

Air filter types

To be added


Respirators and filters can be bought from most hardware and home-improvement stores.

Handling and safety

Respirator filters must be inspected periodically and every time they are near the end of their life.

Since respirators don't offer any real protection against toxic gasses and other volatile reagents, they should not be used in lab when working with such chemicals.

See also


Relevant Sciencemadness threads