If you breathe in acids, gases or fine dust, this becomes extremely hazardous to health. The skin problem is that the mentioned pollutants are almost invisible to the breathing air. Provide a reasonable safety protection Respirator different filter systems, so as to prevent them from becoming lungs and the bloodstream. For the fine dust there is both the standard cup shape as well as half masks with an integrated filter. Which of the different respiratory protection masks is right for you, depends on the protection levels.

The protection levels for respiratory protection masks are divided into three categories


Respiratory protection mask, which are classified as FFP1, offer only a small degree of protection of such respiratory protection mask are generally used in the case of work disturbing smoke or dust which is not harmful to health.

  • Protection against dust
  • Protection against non-fibrogenic dust
  • maximum 25% total leakage
  • 4-Exceeded the workplace limit value

The disposable masks, marked with FFP1, are suitable for a working environment where no fibrogenic dusts are to be expected. The respirator mask of category FFP1 filter up to 80% of the particles in the air. For occupational safety, this respiratory mask may only be used up to a maximum of 4 times the workplace limit value.


A medium protection against solid, liquid and harmful particles is provided by FFP2 respiratory protection mask. These respiratory masks are used with most power tools and have a sufficient protective effect

  • Protection against solid dust
  • Protection against liquid harmful dust, aerosols and smoke
  • Protection against fibrogenic particles
  • maximum 11% of total leakage
  • maximum 10-exceeding of the workplace limits

In the case of fine dust masks marked with the FFP2 grade, these are ideal for a working environment where substances and substances that are harmful to health are modified. This FFP2 respirator must contain at least 94% of airborne particles. The fine dust masks of the FFP2 protection stage are used in mining and the metal industry in particular. In these cases workers are exposed to fog, toxic fumes and aerosols. These substances are the basis for the development of long-term respiratory diseases such as lung cancer. But also the risk of developing a disease such as active lung tuberculosis is high


Respiratory protection mask resp. Respiratory protection filters such as miraculously the safety level FFP3 are protect against solid, liquid especially toxic particles. The respiratory protection mask of the FFP3 stage is intended to protect against, in particular, radioactive substances, arteries, their enzymes from carcinogens.

  • Protection against solid dust
  • Protection against cancerous pollutants
  • Protection against radioactive pollutants
  • Protection against viruses & bacteria
  • Protection against fungus pores
  • Maximum 5% total leakage
  • Maximum 30 exceeds the specified workplace limit value

Respiratory protective masks, which are part of the FFP3 protection class, provide the user with maximum protection. Due to the fact that the total leakage is limited to 5%, at least 99% of the particles are filtered. The respirator mask of the class FFP3 can be used everywhere, primarily in the chemical industry. The working limit may not exceed 30

To which protection level the respiratory protection mask belongs, it is known at the break-up directly at the respiratory mask. The respiratory mask can also be appropriately color-coded. The color yellow stands for the safety level FFP1. At the middle safety level, the respirator mask is marked with the color blue for FFP2. the highest safety level FFP3 for respiratory protection mask is marked with the color red.

It special protection for special applications?

Anyone working with solvent-containing substances should use a special respiratory protection mask. The special respiratory protection mask is subdivided into the following criteria:

  • Respiratory protection against organic gases and vapors (A)
  • Respiratory protection against organic gases and vapors (B)
  • Respiratory Protection Acids (E)
  • Respiratory protection against ammonia (K)
  • Combine Respiratory Protection (ABEK)

What are the different respiratory masks?

Cupcake mask:

The cup mask is a fine dust which should be particularly stable. Due to the special stability, this can be set up quickly and you can be put on by the fact that we can place the cup mask with one hand, is very suitable for the daily operation.


If you are frequently on the road and only need respiratory protection on the basis of the category FFP1, you can also use a folding mask. Wrinkle masks can be kept space-saving. Fold masks of sweat absorbing padding.

Special masks:

Special masks include the half mask and the full masks.

The half mask and the full mask provide the most effective protection against hazardous vapors and gases. Which protection level the half mask or full mask has depends on the built-in filter. These filters are either permanently integrated or can be lifelessly exchanged according to your application.

These respiratory masks are usually equipped with high-quality filter systems so that the respiratory resistance can be kept low.

What should you consider when buying a respiratory mask?

Anyone who does not need his respiratory mask regularly or not every day can rely on the purchase of disposable masks. If, however, the respiratory mask is used frequently or daily, the purchase of a reusable mask is profitable in a very short time.

When purchasing a respiratory mask, a valve should be considered. The valve ensures that the user has sufficient oxygen supply and at the same time prevents the glasses from leaking at the leaks due to the escape of the breathing air.

Of course, you must pay attention to the area in which the respiratory mask is to be used. To this extent, the buyer must deal with the criteria of the protective classes.

The respiratory protection mask - from the protection of man not to imagine

The Respirator has also got other names depending on their use. In the vernacular, she is also known as oxygen mask or as gas mask designated. It is also referred to as the ABC protective mask in civilian emergency services such as the fire brigade and the THW. Today, she also bears this name in the military field. In the NVA of the former GDR, the respirator became official Troops Mask called. It is an effective protective agent against all types of toxins that can be absorbed by the body via the respiratory air. The respirator is subdivided into the full mask and the half or quarter masks. A special feature is the particle-filtering half-mask. The quality of the individual types of respiratory mask is specified in various standards. These include EN 136, EN 149 and EN 140. Thereafter, they can be made of silicone or rubber. Both offer a much higher level of safety than the masks that were previously made of leather or textile materials. With the respiratory masks, a distinction is made between air-dependent and non-recirculation-dependent models. Also, a differentiation after the Pressure mask and the Normal pressure mask performed. On the one hand, the respiratory masks are required by the military, where the soldiers can be protected against toxins and also the ingredients of chemical or biological weapons. The fire brigade is also not without respiratory masks. Without them in combination with heat protection clothing, it would be inconceivable that firemen could save people from burning houses. But also in the field of general occupational health and safety, the respiratory mask is a useful aid. One need only think about the cleaning of various tanks, where the workers would otherwise be exposed to harmful vapors.

There are different types of respiratory protection mask, such as the full mask and the half mask. They are used by the military, but also by the auxiliary services as well as to the workplace.

The historical development of the respiratory mask

The first precursors of the actual respiratory mask were already at the end of the 19. Century mining. There were used so-called respirators, with the help of which the respiratory tracts of the miners were to be protected from the dusts, which can not be avoided by mining the ore and coal by the underground technique. These were very simple models, in which the dust was removed from the breathing air by means of textile filters. Their first military use was the respiratory mask in the time of the First World War. Here the troops had to be protected from the effects of the enemy's attacks with the first chemical weapons. This necessitated the development of new qualities in the sealing and also in the filters. The first scientist who used carbon filters to clean the respiratory mask was a Russian named Nikolai Dmitriyevich Selinski. His invention dates back to 1915. In the First World War, masks were used which were mainly made of impregnated textile materials. Many models did not yet have the fictitious charcoal filter, but were equipped with a filter of cotton or had no filter. With the advance of the war, the respiratory mask developed further. Filters were invented to absorb various types of chemicals. And because horses in the 1. Were still important "war equipment", they also developed special respiratory protection masks for them. In the Second World War the "gas masks" were developed. They were given in versions for adults and children and were distributed to the civilian population. During this time, the so-called gas protection hoods were also increasingly effective.

The respiratory protection mask represents a further development of the dust protection used in mining. The gas masks have become more and more efficient with new types of filters.

The typical structure of a full mask

The mask body of a full mask consists of rubber or silicone. It has either one or two viewing windows which are connected to the masking body via a sealing frame. Full masks with two viewing windows are mainly used in military applications because they can be transported more space-saving. Furthermore, a full mask has a valve, via which the exhaled air is discharged to the outside. They have an internal mask or air ducts, through which the fresh air enters. It must first pass the breathing filter, which is also a basic component of a full mask. In addition, there is also a talking membrane as well as a banding and optionally a carrying strap. A special form of the banding is able to connect the respiratory mask to a protective helmet. They are mainly used in the fire brigade and in military areas. In the case of the respiratory masks of the military, the harness is often replaced by a rubber cap, which is very flexible. Many masks have a carrying strap. This makes it easy to hang around your neck. In aviation, models with a bracket are standard, with which they can be hung up in range. The presence of the inner mask has above all the background to prevent fogging of the viewing windows. The expert is talking about minimizing the "functional dead space". Where there is no inner mask, the fresh air is led along the air vents to prevent fogging. The full mask also includes the breathing protection hood, which creates a transition to both the helmet and the full protective suit. Without these extras, it is applied in the field of occupational health and safety in construction or can be used as an emergency solution for curse purposes. Half-armed as well as rigid models are widely used in the full mask.

The full mask is made of rubber or silicone and has an inner mask, alternatively an air duct system as well as one or two viewing windows. A subspecies is the respiratory hood.

What is a half mask and a fine dust mask?

The fine dust mask is also referred to as a particle-filtering respirator mask in compartment circuits. It encloses the nose and the mouth of the user as a half mask. This also limits the fields of application, because they do not have a parallel protection of the eyes from toxins and other pollutants like the full mask. Even the possible sealing is not as effective as a full mask can be due to the contours of the nose alone. They are mainly used in the field of occupational health and safety, for example in mining or construction. They are alternatively referred to as dust protection masks and are now completely made of a filtering material. The particle-filtering respiratory protection mask protects the respiratory tract of the wearer in the main case from oily or aqueous aerosols. The filter works according to the electrostatic principle. Since the accumulation of the substances causes an increase in the air resistance, and thus an increased force expenditure is required in the course of time during breathing, there are very specific rules as to how long such a fine dust mask may be worn. The classification of the half mask can be found in the EN 149 standard. It distinguishes the half masks into three classes. In the class FFP-1 the leakage at the valve for exhalation is up to 25 percent. This half mask is only suitable for use in substances which are non-toxic and also not fribogenic. Here, too, the principle is that their concentration is no more than four times the value of what is generally permissible in a workplace. The best protection is provided by the FFP3 half mask, whose leakage can not be more than five percent. It can also be used to protect against radioactive substances and carcinogens, and it also protects against the penetration of micro-organisms into the user's airways. It can be used at concentrations up to 30 times that which is permissible without a protective clothing at a workplace.

The half mask is drawn only over the nose and the mouth. This makes a perfect seal difficult. The half mask is divided into different classes according to the EN standard.

The functioning of the respiratory mask

For the functioning of the respiratory mask, a respiratory filter is used. Half masks can only be obtained with a respiratory filter. These filters, which are usually operated with the electrostatic principle, are used to filter out dusts which accumulate directly on the filter. This results in the disadvantage that an ever greater resistance when inhaling must be overcome. For this reason, the maximum wearing time specified in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations must be complied with. A further problem arises when the wearer breathes very shallowly. Then, not enough air is exchanged and carbon dioxide can build up inside the half mask. This creates the danger of unconsciousness, which is also referred to as airtrapping in specialist circles. This risk also occurs in the case of circulatory devices which operate according to the principle of pendulum breathing. In the case of respiratory masks with a breathing regulator, the user is induced by the inhalation of a vacuum inside the mask. The respiratory regulator replaces the removed air by pressure equalization. The average pressure to be reached for most respiratory masks is between 4,5 and 8 bar. The recirculated air either passes through the inner mask or through special air ducts past the viewing window (s) and prevents it from fogging. If the user breathes, the inhalation valve is automatically closed and the exhalation valve is opened. In this case, an overpressure in the mask interior, which is generally at 3,5 bar, is maintained by means of a spring load on the exhalation valve. This prevents the penetration of toxins through the exhalation valve and other leakages on the mask. The resistance to be felt during the inhalation is lower for this mask than for the half mask with filter. However, a resistance must be overcome when exhaling.

In the case of respiratory masks with a breathing regulator, an increased force expenditure is necessary when exhaling. In the case of filter masks, the resistance is significantly greater when inhaled.

Which mask systems are there?

The respiratory protection mask distinguishes systems with normal pressure and with overpressure. Both have advantages and disadvantages, which should be weighed against one another before the selection.

In the currently used mask systems, the overprint mask and the normal print mask are differentiated. The normal pressure mask can be recognized by the fact that the coupling for the respiratory regulator has a black or blue marking. Inside the normal pressure mask, the same air pressure prevails as in the outdoor area. The pressure inside the respiratory mask is monitored and corrected by a respiratory regulator. In the case of the normal pressure mask, there is a risk that pollutants can penetrate in small leaks. This is caused by the negative pressure that is generated during inhalation, which must be compensated by the respiratory regulator. On the other hand, the normal pressure mask prevents a loss of larger amounts of air. In an overpressure mask there is an air pressure which is about four mbar above the ambient air pressure. This makes the inhalation much easier, which is particularly noticeable in physical exertion. Positive is also the fact, that by small leaks no pollutants can penetrate. This is due to the fact that basic physical principles ensure a pressure equalization and this happens with the overpressure mask from the inside to the outside. But there is a disadvantage at the same time. Even small leaks ensure an increased consumption of fresh air, which has an effect on the possible operating times of an overpressure mask. For this reason, special inventories were introduced, for example, to the fire brigade and the military, which involved a real-time monitoring of the fresh air supply. The improved technical possibilities of monitoring the air supply and the increased protection against the normal pressure masks have led THW and fire brigade to increasingly use the overpressure systems in the respiratory mask in recent years. It is not possible to mix the connections of the individual types of respiratory protection mask as they are equipped with completely different adapters and threads.

What else you should know about the respiratory mask

The function of the respiratory mask can be affected by the wearing of a pair of glasses or a chin and cheek. Both can cause leakage.

As a spectacle wearer, the mask is always at risk of being leaked through the frame of the glasses. Also the special glasses, which instead of the classic strap rubber bands, can not solve this problem satisfactorily. Eyeglasses that do not have a classic frame but are anchored directly in the mask with the aid of wire irons are a remedy. The optimal solution is personalized respirator masks, in which the lenses replace the spectacle lenses by grinding them in the user's dioptric strength. This fixes the respective respiratory mask on a single user. An exchange, for example, among several firefighters of a train is not possible here. The cost factor also has a negative effect. That the military does not allow the beard and is undesirable at THW and fire service, has something to do with the tightness of the respiratory mask.

Between the hairs of the chin and cheekbones, contaminated air can penetrate. In addition, these leaks caused by the beard affect the correct functioning of the respiratory regulators. Such leaks in the region of the beard can be measured just a few hours after a thorough shave. The fact that the respiratory protection mask is also used with the designation ABC protective mask is the reason why it protects against the atomic, biological and chemical contamination of the airways. However, this is only the case with modern models. In Austria you sometimes hear the word "Zuzz" for the respiratory mask. This has to do with the fact that the filter reminds a little of a pacifier for babies, and that is exactly what is called "Zuzz" in the Volksmund in Austria.

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