Respirator Resource Center

Proper respiratory protection equipment can protect your health while working with hazardous materials.

Here you’ll find tips and tools to help you choose, use and care for your respirators, plus keep your crew safe. When you’re ready to work safely, you’re ready to work.

Types of Respirators

Filtering Facepiece (aka Disposable Respirators) Suitable for protection from particles, like dust, pollen, mists, welding fumes and certain pesticides in solid form.

Half-Mask Respirators (Reusable) Offer longevity and flexibility for use with replaceable cartridges and filters to keep you safe from different contaminants.

Full-Face Respirators (Reusable) Offer the same longevity and flexibility as half-mask respirators, plus eye and skin coverage when irritants or contaminants require it.

Powered Air-Purifying Respirator Pulls air through a filter or cartridge and circulates air through a helmet for comfortable breathing. Good for spraying pesticides or chemicals where air quality is compromised.

Do I need a respirator filter, cartridge or both?

The answer depends on the hazard from which you need protection. See below.

  • Particulate Filters: Filters only aerosols (e.g., dust, mists, fumes, smoke, mold, bacteria, etc). Some filters also have nuisance-level gas and vapor capabilities.
  • Gas & Vapor Cartridges: Filters only gases and vapors. There are different kinds of cartridges for different kinds of gases and vapors, and filters are specific to the brand of respirator you choose. For example, if you have a 3M respirator you’ll need 3M filters or cartridges. If you have a Moldex respirator, you’ll need Moldex filters or cartridges.
  • Combination Cartridge/Filters: Filters particles, gases and vapors. Different combination particulate/cartridge filters are used depending on the gas or vapor present in the air. You may also hear the combination referred to as using a cartridge with a particulate “pre-filter”.

Why Respirators Matter

Difference Maker: Your respiratory health matters. Proper respiratory PPE can help prevent common health issues among professionals who work with hazardous materials, including:

  • Farmers: The three main respiratory illnesses associated with production agriculture are farmer’s lung, silo filler’s disease and organic dust toxicity syndrome (Source: Ag Safety and Health eXtension Community of Practice (CoP))
  • Construction workers: Construction workers have been shown to have a significantly elevated risk of lung cancer due to work with silica dust, exposure to asbestos and other hazardous materials. (Source: NIOSH)
  • Landscape professionals: Silica dust, pesticides, herbicides and other hazards put landscape professionals at risk for respiratory health issues.

Thumbnail of an infographic

Respirators are a Key Part of Head-To-Toe Protection

This infographic highlights work-related health statistics for farmers’ eyes, ears, lungs, hands and more and offers insights for any professional in similar work conditions. Stay safe from head to toe!

View Graphic

How to Choose a Respirator

Select The Right Respirator Cartridge
Picking the right protection can be confusing, but we can help. In this educational video, learn how to select the right respirator cartridge for protection from hazardous gases and vapors, or a combination of gases and vapors and particles.

How to Use a Respirator

Don and Fit Check Disposable Respirator
Proper use and fit is essential for achieving the protection the respirator is intended to provide. This video demonstrates how to don and fit check a disposable respirator.

How to Care for a Respirator

Respirator Help

Respirator Help

Respirator Help

Questions? Contact us.

Call 1-800-382-8473 or email