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Do respirators fully protect people from toxic exposure?

Toxic exposure in the workplace is an unavoidable risk in many Iowa occupations, and your protective equipment is usually intended to mitigate that risk to the greatest degree possible. However, the properties of various professional hazards warrant the careful implementation of masks, breathing apparatus or respirators appropriate to your specific situation. To understand what your safety gear may or may not be reasonably assumed to do, it is often useful to turn to the manufacturer for specific information.

Moldex, a leading manufacturer of respirators, issues a number of telling disclaimers in its chemical selection guide. If you or someone you love has toxicity concerns, it might interest you to know that this respirator company states that their products do not eliminate risk of injury. As an exposed worker, you might also be surprised to learn that Moldex places the responsibility of selecting appropriate respiratory gear upon your employer.

Besides the legal fine print, the chemical selection guide goes into recommended best practices for many of the chemicals you might encounter in the workplace. In addition, it contains a partial list of chemicals against which you should not attempt to use the commercially available respirators.

You might be able to find further information about the chemicals in your workplace by consulting the publicly posted material safety data sheets. You could potentially use the numbers or chemical names to check any potential risks your current safety equipment might pose. Please keep in mind that the information in this article is intended as educational information, not as legal advice.

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