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Old 08-25-2006, 10:52 PM
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respirators and supplied air

This is all for information, it is not to be taken as expert advice.

I worked in several nuclear power plants and have used half, full face, negative pressure, positive pressure, including supplied air, scba, and battery operated respirators.

I am just relating my experience, and am not in any way suggesting anyone should go by what I am putting out here.

On occasin I get emails about the supplied air setup I have, so rather then answer each individual question, I will try to give you an overall view of respirators etc.

I worked about 18 years in power plants, and each plant will put you through a training session, there all pretty much the same, but I stayed in the same one for 15 years, and I was taught how to operate a fit booth for various respirators, also issued respirators for different types of invironments.

If anybody is still with me.

When you buy a respirator from your body shop supplier, or wherever, remember these guys sell paint and some sell auto parts also.

So pay attention to what type of resp. you are buying and it's intended purpose, you should read what the manufacture says on the respirator and the filters you get with it. Take the time and check it out, look at the expiration dates, these were put on there for a reason, very important.

I'm only giving you basic information here.

Take the respirator out of the package and put it on, cover up the filter inlet with the palm of your hand, and breathe in, it should suck the respirator tight to your face with no inleakage at all. If it leaks a little try a different size, get one that fits your face.

This is what you call the seal.

When we issued respirators at the power plant, sometimes on a daily basis, before you could even be issued one you had to have had some respirator training.

If you didn't shave that morning, you knew better then to even ask, so clean shaven is the key, you might get a seal with an end of the day stubble on your face, but you could break that seal while you're working and not even know it.

Excessive talking and squinting is one of the easiest way to break the seal and allow outside air into your respirator, so keep the talking and facial movement to aminimum.

You see them on television painting with a respirator, these are usually down draft booths with excellent air flow, your hobby shop is a little different environment, usually a lot more fumes, and you can bet these are the top of the line respirators there using.

Heres some on supplied air. There is a big difference in supplied air and scba (self contained breathing apparatus). The scba can be worn in an oxygen deficient atmosphere, supplied air should never be worn in this atmosphere

Respirators, supplied air, scba all have protection factors. I'm not going into all of that.

Supplied air can be used with a half or full face respirator or a hood.

I use a sas system, and I don't care what system you buy, this one works good, but it's a few years old, there are other name brands out there, probably one as good as the other.

I use the hood with my supplied air, for a couple of reasons, one is I have been in a full face respirator hooked up to supplyied air on many occasions, and i don't like to have my chin floating in my own sweat over a four hour period, I have worn all types of respirators.

The paper hood is lighter, cooler on your face, don't have to shave, they are nice to use. You can talk and squint and you don't have to worry about breaking your seal.

Use caution when placing your supplied air pump, remember it's sucking in the air that you will be breathing, like no cars running around it, mines in a back room in my house and I can tell what were having for supper.

This is just a little basic overview, some of our body shop experts have put out some real good informatioin on respirators, it wouldn't hurt to look up some of there threads before you start painting or have a lot of rust and filler in the air.

On my web site you will see the air pump for my supplied air system, we had environmental air samplers where i used to work, and we learned how to maintain and repair this same type of air pump, there heavy and can be moved to wherever you want to, I usually leave mine where it is, it is okay with up to 100' of hose.

I've used it a lot, and never had a problem.

If you buy a supplied air outfit with the hood, the hoods are made of a thicker type paper and are strong but light. They scratch easy on the face piece, so buy a bunch of extra films that stick over the face piece, then a hood will last quite a long time.

I wear levis, a tee shirt and sweatshirt and buy the cheaper paper suits at building supply places or your body shop place, vinyl or rubber gloves taped to the paper suit with the hood just tucked inside the paper suit and zipped up tight.

Take care of your respirators, and supplied air and lines and pump, these are the best tools you will ever buy for this kind of work, keep them boxed or wrapped up, but keep them clean.

Hope some of this will help somebody, it's a little difficult to write up with just the highlights, there is so much information out there on this.

Rob

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Old 08-26-2006, 08:59 AM
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Wow

You really scared me with the neatness until I saw the pile on the toolbox.

This was an excellant writeup - with most of the things you mentioned in my list of items that I will be doing with my supplied air setup. I have yet to use it but taking inside the house air hadn't been considered - but now will have a fitting in the basement (probably) with the pump then connected to it for clean air. Also prefer the hood as I wear glasses and had totally fogged a pair years ago with a 1/2 face respirator (before Isos) - which is another reason for the hood.

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Old 08-26-2006, 01:34 PM
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Let's not forget the life span of the filter cartridges, I know fellows who will buy the right activated carbon filters then after using them just toss the respirator aside until they need it again, some of these guys will use the same filters until they become so clogged breathing becomes difficult. These things should be tossed after 8 hrs exposure and should NEVER be trusted in a dangerous environment after this time. Make SURE the package on the filters is not damaged when you buy them since a hole in the packaging will ruin them in short order. I remember seeing a bunch of filters (the good 3M cartridges) hanging in a parts store a couple of years ago that had been hung on a peg board by simply impaling the packages on the pegs . When I pointed out that they were ruined and no longer usable the guy behind the counter just laughed at me and said "aw hell that won't hurt em, been selling them like that for years" This is the main reason these things are not approved for ISO's there are just too many wrong ways to use them and some people just will not follow the rules, if used properly they can be safely used for painting.
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Old 08-26-2006, 02:38 PM
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oldred, you are right on the money about the parts counter person, they are there to sell paint and parts etc.

Some of them are knowledgeable about respirators, but to a limited extent. I'm not going to point fingers at them, there not expected to know that much about them, but, it's up to the person buying and using the respirator.

There should be a product information sheet that goes with any respiratory equipment that is sold over the counter, if it isn't with it, ask the counter person to get his book out and print one up.

Staying informed on this is up to the individual using it. Your point about the life span of the filter cartridges, that was good.

Rob
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Old 08-26-2006, 02:39 PM
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Also if you use filtered compressed air you can install a cool tube to refrigerate your breathing air. That's a nice feature when spraying in a 110 degree booth.
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Old 08-26-2006, 08:53 PM
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For the very little painting I've done, I use this system:
http://www.autobodystore.com/neoterik.htm
with the full nylon hood. Never thought about setting the pump in the house; that would make sure of getting good, cool air.

Is there a problem with using a nylon hood instead of a paper one? I didn't see any paper hoods when I got the paper suit.

An earlier discussion on here linked to a thread on chevelles.com which led me to buy that supplied air system before using 2k paints. The link no longer works as it was posted, so here's an updated one:

http://www.chevelles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10397

Isocyanates are pretty scary.
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Old 08-26-2006, 11:16 PM
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Grouch, I would think the nylon hood would be just as good as the paper if it's got a tight nit to it.

When you're using it can you smell any paint fumes.

Rob

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Old 08-27-2006, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robs ss
Grouch, I would think the nylon hood would be just as good as the paper if it's got a tight nit to it.

When you're using it can you smell any paint fumes.
There is no smell of paint whatsoever. When I first got some PPG epoxy, I cracked open the can and had to vacate the area in a hurry. I've always hated that smell and can track down a body shop in an unfamiliar city by it. With the supplied air system in operation, I smell none of that.

I just thought there might be a problem with residue, or something, with the nylon and that was why you were talking about a paper hood. The slightly positive pressure inside the hood would seem to force the vapors away. The paper suit is understandable because there is no positive pressure inside your clothes, so you need to be able to get that stuff away from you right after spraying. (Better to throw away a paper suit than a pair of jeans).

Since it doesn't make sense to wear the hood around the fumes except when the air is being supplied, it seems reasonable that it would not get contaminated like clothing would. However, I don't have any experience having to work around such fumes, so what seems reasonable to me could easily get me a trip to the emergency room, in that area. It's one of the reasons I dig around in these forums.
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Old 08-27-2006, 12:45 AM
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Grouch, you might want to call the manufacter, or if you have the paper work with it, they might mention something about it.

Rob
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:17 AM
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Hi, I worked as a nuclear inspector in Naval nuclear propulsion for 25 years. While performing inspections in certain areas, I wore anti contamination suits that had an air-fed hood for breathing air. The Navy trained us annually for wearing half face, full face and air-fed hoods. Also prior to starting any new work that required the the use of an air-fed hood, we were trained on donning and removal of our air-fed hood and anti-contamination clothing. We were then tested for our response in an emergency loss of air. We had seconds to determine that there was a loss of breathing air and remove the air-fed hood. All of this training emphasizing hood removal in an emergency was the result of fatalities caused by workers not realizing that they had lost there air supply or were unable to remove there air-fed hood when they had a loss of air. Another thing to think about is how much oil and water vapor is your compressor putting in your breathing air. Most compressors use oil in the pump which is how the oil gets into the breathing air and I was also told that it can increase the CO2 levels in the air. When you put a nylon air-fed hood over your head and strap it to you so it does not flop around, your life depends on that air supply. Be safe!
Ken
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:30 AM
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Ken, thanks for helping this thread out, good thing you pointed out.

You are talking about a air supply from a large compressor, thats what we had, we would monitor our air supply with tests, for co2, oil, etc, just before we hooked them up to somebody, but the units they sell for home use are oilless pumps,

Another thing here, I posted on some forum, that if your painting you should have a runner outside the booth, he can keep an eye on the guy in the supplied air, I even put a window in my booth, for the outside guy to check on me.

This runner serves another purpose, he can mix your paint, fill your paint cup, keeps you from dragging your supplied air hose out of the booth, less dirt and dust gets in the booth.

Rob

Last edited by robs ss; 08-28-2006 at 01:37 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:30 PM
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While we are covering the bases here, I think it is a good idea to have respiratory protection from the time you first open the can. I personally use a charcoal respirator to do this (less cumbersome when mixing paint) and then switch to a supplied air system when spraying. I wear a Tyvek suit and nitrile gloves from the time I open the can as well.
The bottom line is repeated exposures, however slight, can lead to severe sensitivity issues including chemical asthma. Everyone is different and there is no telling when your body will cross that threshold.
Also, in my humble opinion, I don't consider any paint safe to spray without protection, whether it is a single stage enamel, waterbased paint or of course, iso contaning paints. I'm not saying that I am an expert by any means but I have some experience as I have worn various SCBA's, I am chairman of the Health and Safety Committee for my fire dept, I am an RN and have worked with an Occupational Pulmonologist.
I would rather skimp on the quality of my spray equipment (which I did at first) than paint without the appropriate respiratory protection.
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:44 PM
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fireboat:

I'm glad you said that. I sprayed some of that stinky epoxy primer today and felt like an idiot while mixing it. I really hate the smell of that stuff, so there I was, outside in my moon suit, gloves and hood with the air supply hose trailing behind me, stirring about a cup of paint while the little air supply compressor whirred like a vacuum cleaner. Better to feel silly than sick, though.
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