Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
TL;DR: I imagine the forums here are being swamped by basic respirator questions at the moment due to world events. I think my questions are a bit beyond the basics which may explain why I haven't had much luck finding any answers despite searching over the past few days and trawling old forum posts etc. I apologize for the wall of text here fellas but if anyone has the time, i'd appreciate any insight on the subject!


I've had some experience with using half face masks for hobby projects over the past few years. I've been wanting to upgrade to a full mask for use on projects for awhile and was planning on doing it the right way by going to a local ppe outfitter and trying different masks + fit tests. Unfortunately, I didn't pull the trigger on an upgrade until two weeks ago due to the virus situation. I realize it may have been irrational but I wanted to avoid buying one locally in hopes of reducing exposure risk. I'm pretty sure that buying a full face online is a gamble in terms of ensuring a proper fit test and was hoping to learn more about the science of a fit test and if there are any options for me to pursue.

To reduce the risks of buying online, I checked a few of the different manufacturer's websites to find a licensed vendor to order from. I checked out honewell, 3m and mestel. Mestel concerned me because I couldn't find any official vendor list from them plus I seen that there were quite a few masks for sale online that looked identical to the mestel 400/3 but it was labeled as something else and alarmingly varying prices below retail. The only mask I managed to find out of the three was a 3M FF-400 series. The FF-400 concerned me because there isn't much discussion/info about this on forums so i'm unsure if it is unpopular or other issues I may be unaware of.

I went with the FF-400, but am still considering getting something else in the event that I unknowingly made a mistake on choosing it.

Next I started researching about qualitative fit testing. I did all of the basic stuff like shaving my beard, no scars or problematic anatomy etc. I pass the two basic operator pressure/seal checks. The official 3m test kit is quite expensive. I managed to find some of the test solution (bitter agent) that I could afford but the nebulizer tool used is almost the cost of the whole kit and I assume the nebulizer tool is more complicated than just a spray bottle, right?

I was surprised to not find much info on fit testing from a DIY stand point, the only info was someone suggesting to use an incense stick to see if you can smell the smoke. I assume there is a reason why a pro fit test doesn't use a simple incense stick and instead uses a nebulizer -- does anyone happen to know why? As a layman, I imagine the nebulizer produces particles in a different manner or size?

Thanks for any advice/insight again fellas!
 

·
Wile E Coyote, Genius.
Joined
·
33,614 Posts
I would just use smoke.

Or not worry about it. Getting a good fit on a 3M full face respirator is dead easy.
Put it on, adjust the straps and carry on. A cigarette or anything smoldering and smokey should provide a good test.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
If you want to do qualitative fit testing, use menthol oil (you can get it at Walgreens) and a loose fitting plastic hood.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

·
Emergency Manager
Joined
·
2,725 Posts
TL;DR: I imagine the forums here are being swamped by basic respirator questions at the moment due to world events. I think my questions are a bit beyond the basics which may explain why I haven't had much luck finding any answers despite searching over the past few days and trawling old forum posts etc. I apologize for the wall of text here fellas but if anyone has the time, i'd appreciate any insight on the subject!


I've had some experience with using half face masks for hobby projects over the past few years. I've been wanting to upgrade to a full mask for use on projects for awhile and was planning on doing it the right way by going to a local ppe outfitter and trying different masks + fit tests. Unfortunately, I didn't pull the trigger on an upgrade until two weeks ago due to the virus situation. I realize it may have been irrational but I wanted to avoid buying one locally in hopes of reducing exposure risk. I'm pretty sure that buying a full face online is a gamble in terms of ensuring a proper fit test and was hoping to learn more about the science of a fit test and if there are any options for me to pursue.

To reduce the risks of buying online, I checked a few of the different manufacturer's websites to find a licensed vendor to order from. I checked out honewell, 3m and mestel. Mestel concerned me because I couldn't find any official vendor list from them plus I seen that there were quite a few masks for sale online that looked identical to the mestel 400/3 but it was labeled as something else and alarmingly varying prices below retail. The only mask I managed to find out of the three was a 3M FF-400 series. The FF-400 concerned me because there isn't much discussion/info about this on forums so i'm unsure if it is unpopular or other issues I may be unaware of.

I went with the FF-400, but am still considering getting something else in the event that I unknowingly made a mistake on choosing it.

Next I started researching about qualitative fit testing. I did all of the basic stuff like shaving my beard, no scars or problematic anatomy etc. I pass the two basic operator pressure/seal checks. The official 3m test kit is quite expensive. I managed to find some of the test solution (bitter agent) that I could afford but the nebulizer tool used is almost the cost of the whole kit and I assume the nebulizer tool is more complicated than just a spray bottle, right?

I was surprised to not find much info on fit testing from a DIY stand point, the only info was someone suggesting to use an incense stick to see if you can smell the smoke. I assume there is a reason why a pro fit test doesn't use a simple incense stick and instead uses a nebulizer -- does anyone happen to know why? As a layman, I imagine the nebulizer produces particles in a different manner or size?

Thanks for any advice/insight again fellas!
If you're not going to do the qualitative fit test correctly, I'd advise not bothering with it at all. Cover the intake ports and inhale... does the mask stay stuck to your face? If yes, you have a good enough fit for COVID-19.

Why do they use a nebulizer?

  • It's easier to control and maintain the quality of a test liquid or powder than it is to do the same with incense.
  • The necessary vapors or particulates may not be able to be produced by burning something.
  • It's difficult to regulate the amount or concentration using incense.
  • Incense requires fire or an ignition source. That itself requires special consideration of the environment around you and in the testing area.
  • You want something that is hypoallergenic... most incense gives me a terrible migraine.
  • You want something that most people will be able to detect. With the saccharin tests in particular, even if your sense of smell isn't the greatest, you can still taste it.

Not that it isn't useful, but we haven't used qualitative testing for probably 15 years now. Everything, even our N95 mask testing, is electronic, quantitative, testing.

With the proper filters, the FF-400 is adequate for COVID-19 and any other biological or particulate threats (tear gas, nuclear weapon fallout, dirty bomb, etc). I'd rate it a much better mask than most of what you see out there. Avoid using it for chemical warfare agents because the silicone skirt doesn't stand up very long to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
512 Posts
Dang SB. I had a big, old post ready and went to go research something and when I came back all the writing was gone. 3M rep here.
Never heard of an individual doing a fit test. Just not required under OSHA for a single person. Conduct a positive and/or negative seal check every time you don and it should be good. Hit me up if you need more data/help.
Conelrad is correct, the FF-400 is a nice, comfortable respirator but won’t hold up under the harshest chemicals. For that look at a FR-7800B (butyl) this can also be made into a CBRN setup.
Also, if you’re ever in doubt about buying the right size, we build our mediums to fit roughly 80% of the population of the United States. So, unless you know you’re large or small, just go with the medium.
 

·
Wile E Coyote, Genius.
Joined
·
33,614 Posts
Dang SB. I had a big, old post ready and went to go research something and when I came back all the writing was gone. 3M rep here.
Never heard of an individual doing a fit test. Just not required under OSHA for a single person. Conduct a positive and/or negative seal check every time you don and it should be good. Hit me up if you need more data/help.
Conelrad is correct, the FF-400 is a nice, comfortable respirator but won’t hold up under the harshest chemicals. For that look at a FR-7800B (butyl) this can also be made into a CBRN setup.
Also, if you’re ever in doubt about buying the right size, we build our mediums to fit roughly 80% of the population of the United States. So, unless you know you’re large or small, just go with the medium.
Cool, a 3M rep.
I have been suggesting a 3M full face or hood type PAPR for medical personnel to wear while treating virus patients. Can you recommend the lowest cost one that has the battery, P-100 filters and fan unit worn on a belt and connected with a hose to the mask?

Are any of these under $1000? Thanks

I saw one listed for just over $600, but the fan and filters are mounted on the front of the mask.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
512 Posts
Cool, a 3M rep.
I have been suggesting a 3M full face or hood type PAPR for medical personnel to wear while treating virus patients. Can you recommend the lowest cost one that has the battery, P-100 filters and fan unit worn on a belt and connected with a hose to the mask?

Are any of these under $1000? Thanks

I saw one listed for just over $600, but the fan and filters are mounted on the front of the mask.
The mask mounted one is the PowerFlow unit. Still requires a seal. Most users have moved over to the TR-300+ unit. It’s HE (high efficiency of what used to be called HEPA) and can be used with loose fitting head tops providing a 1,000 APF. This unit is what a lot of medical providers use unless they need OV/AG or other cartridges. Virii are particulate in nature, so the HE filter is sufficient. I don’t know about $1,000 price on one. They are on allocation, hard to find, high demand rates and indefinite delivery timeframe.
So, shop around and see what you can come up with on those.
 

·
Wile E Coyote, Genius.
Joined
·
33,614 Posts
The mask mounted one is the PowerFlow unit. Still requires a seal. Most users have moved over to the TR-300+ unit. It’s HE (high efficiency of what used to be called HEPA) and can be used with loose fitting head tops providing a 1,000 APF. This unit is what a lot of medical providers use unless they need OV/AG or other cartridges. Virii are particulate in nature, so the HE filter is sufficient. I don’t know about $1,000 price on one. They are on allocation, hard to find, high demand rates and indefinite delivery timeframe.
So, shop around and see what you can come up with on those.
Looks like $1700 and the filters ar $40 each. Ack!
https://www.amazon.com/3M-Personal-..._1_1?keywords=3m+tr300+&qid=1583628350&sr=8-1

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
512 Posts
They are not usually that expensive. Supply and demand. The filters are about $55 list price, so $40 is a decent price. We had A price increase Feb 1st, like we do every year, but it was only 1-3% increase.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, we cannot meet demand at the current time. We are having a delay in meeting even necessary levels at times.

There is an act you may wish to look into: Defense Procurement Act.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thanks to each one of you fellas, lots of great information -- also enjoyed the info about PAPR. Great info on the qualitative test's nebulizer explaination as well.

I tried an incense stick that I had handy for the heck of it and noticed that I did experience some scent but only when positioned right below the mask near the exhalation valve. I assume that due to the smoke's physics, that it potentially managed to flow upwards into into the exhalation valve during an exhalation? Or should that not happen? I did pass the two user self seal checks though.

Do you fellas have any experience with the 7093 cartridges? I picked them up because they appear to be a good breathing p100 particulate filter but also because I read somewhere (forget the source) that they can get wet during decontamination? Maybe this is overkill but if the operator was wearing a tyvek hood/suit with a full face resp using 7093, would it be safe for them to be sprayed with dilute 1% bleach from head to toe during doffing stages, or would this be a bad idea for the 7093?
(in case the level of spraying i'm talking about is unclear, here is a 10sec video excerpt https://www.youtube.com/embed/NWiHTKJegEY?start=25&end=34 )

pic of 7093 cartridge for clarity:
7093cartridge.jpg

Thanks again guys, will definitely be re-reading & archiving all of this info, very helpful!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top