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Old 18th February 2013, 07:22 PM   #1
Dan_E10 is offline Dan_E10  United States
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Default Respirator for working with MDF?

Last summer I started serious construction of my first set of MDF cabinets. I worked outside, used a shopvac with fine particulate filter for dust collection, and wore a respirator at all times. After I finished cleaning up I would remove the respirator and head directly to take a shower to clean up. The mask I used was one from Home Depot that, as I recall, uses P100 filters. It is marketed for use with "toxic dust".

MSA Safety Works Respirator for Toxic Dust-817664 at The Home Depot

Despite this, my lungs always felt a bit strange after working on the cabinets. I realize MDF dust is something to be very careful around and I'm wondering where I might be going wrong. Are there better respirators out there?
thanks,
Dan
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Old 18th February 2013, 07:25 PM   #2
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Instead of getting a better respirator, why not use a better, more suitable material for bulding speakers?

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Old 18th February 2013, 07:40 PM   #3
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Dan,
If it was a cheap NIOSH paper dust mask they are only so good. A painters actual respirator would be much better in that regard but they cost at least $25.00 each or more and really should be fit tested to see that they do not leak around your face. Remember that facial hair is always a leak path no matter what type of mask you use except for the next option. Another even more expensive possibility is a spray hood with an airless air compressor supplying the air to it. This way you have a positive pressure keeping out all noxious fumes from the wood or the paint you may use on them. These also are available at most any good automotive paint supplier.
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Old 18th February 2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_E10 View Post
Last summer I started serious construction of my first set of MDF cabinets. I worked outside, used a shopvac with fine particulate filter for dust collection, and wore a respirator at all times. After I finished cleaning up I would remove the respirator and head directly to take a shower to clean up. The mask I used was one from Home Depot that, as I recall, uses P100 filters. It is marketed for use with "toxic dust".

MSA Safety Works Respirator for Toxic Dust-817664 at The Home Depot

Despite this, my lungs always felt a bit strange after working on the cabinets. I realize MDF dust is something to be very careful around and I'm wondering where I might be going wrong. Are there better respirators out there?
thanks,
Dan
Not really any better. It is not the lungs that feel strange after inhaling nasty dust.

Münchausen syndrome is a slight possibility.
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Old 18th February 2013, 08:16 PM   #5
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Dan,
I see that it was a painters respirator you did get. But you have to understand that there are actually different sizes for different size faces and they usually don't carry more than one size at the big box stores. Another thing is to do a fit test. This is usually smoke or something else that is checked to see if it leaks around the seal. You could put on eye goggles and try some kind of perfume sprayed straight at your face and see if you can detect this or even pepper spray but you aren't going to like that! The best solution is a full face mask with air supply and a Tyvek suit to keep any fumes from entering through your skin. I don't find MDF that bad myself, a paper mask is all I usually need for that. The binder resin is typically a urea bases adhesive and this is most likely based on a cows urine, really.......
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Old 18th February 2013, 09:25 PM   #6
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Test fit: Cover the intakes and try to exhale. Do it every time you put it on.

For dust like MDF the disposable molded masks with two straps and an exhale valve should be fine if they fit. Having a beard, that is always an issue for me. I can never get them comfortable, so I use a full respirator. Save the full suit and powered full face for spraying Imeron paint. For that it is a MUST.

Instead of big box stores, go online and read about them. There are only about three real OEM's: 3M, North and one more. I think OA is gone. See what they say, then search for suppliers. Safety specialty shops can be MUCH cheaper. Like HALF.
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Old 18th February 2013, 09:46 PM   #7
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tvrgeek,
I agree that there are not really many manufacturers left in this industry. I don't find MDF dust that bad and only need a paper mask with the metal tab at the nose to squeeze it tight on the face. Most of the masks I ever buy are from 3M and you can't go wrong with them. I do have an air fed hood and that is for spraying all types of catalyzed urethane, enamel and epoxy paints. Then the Tyvek comes in handy as you will absorb through the skin. I haven't had any real problems with spraying these paints but I do know others that became so sensitized to them they can not get within a block of a paint shop without getting sick. I have to watch that when it comes to epoxy resins as I have done way to much composite work with those and can not have some of them get on my skin. In that case I make sure to wear nytril gloves as latex is semipermeable. I think that the problems with MDF are over done as long as you are not doing this everyday on a production basis. This is for any dust that can enter your lungs, nothing like the old days of asbestos that was used in the past in so many applications.
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