When researching some of the different types of respirators, you may come across powered air-purifying respirators (APRs). They are commonly used in hospitals, medical research facilities and other workplaces with a high risk of airborne contaminants. For some workplaces, a conventional dust mask may suffice. For others, though, you may want to use a powered APR.
Overview of Powered APRs
A powered APR is a type of wearable respirator that's characterized by the use of a powered filtration system. All respirators have a filtration system. Even conventional dust masks, for instance, have a layer that's designed to catch and remove particulate matter.
While they are available in different styles, most powered APRs feature a battery. There are half-facepiece and full-facepiece powered APRs. Regardless, nearly all of them have a built-in battery that powers a blower. When wearing a powered APR, the blower will suck in air through a filter. The filter, of course, will remove particulate matter from the air before it reaches your face.
Benefits of Using a Powered APR
In terms of filtration power, powered APRs are superior to nearly all other types of respirators. They are designed to remove more types of airborne contaminants. Powered APRs can filter mold, dust, bacteria, viruses and other common airborne contaminants.
You may notice that powered APRs are more comfortable to wear as well. This is because powered APRs provide airflow, whereas non-powered respirators, as well as dust masks, do not provide airflow. Clean air will move around your face when wearing a powered APR.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Powered APR
If you're going to buy a powered APR, you should consider the style. As previously mentioned, some of them consist of a half-facepiece, whereas others consist of a full facepiece. Half-facepiece powered APRs will only cover your mouth and nose. Full-facepiece powered APRs, on the other hand, will cover your entire face, including your nose and eyes. Full-facepiece powered APRs cost more, but they eliminate the need for eyewear.
You should consider the type of filter a powered APR uses. The filter is responsible for cleaning the air. As the battery-powered blower suctions air, it will pass the air through the filter. When choosing a powered APR, check to see what type of filter it uses.
Some powered APRs feature a splash-resistant hood as well. The hood is a section of material that extends down the bottom of the powered APR. The purpose of a splash-resistant hood is to further prevent contaminants from making their way into the otherwise sealed mask.