Air-Purifying Element

Last Updated: August 28, 2020

Definition - What does Air-Purifying Element mean?

An air-purifying element is a filtering component of a respirator device equipped for removing particulate matter and/or gases and vapors from the ambient atmosphere to facilitate normal inspiration (breathing) patterns. Environmental conditions often pose distinct elements that threaten independent health and safety including dust particles and/or chemical solvent fumes, for example, due to industrial and manufacturing processes. Respirators are specially designed to purify the air by capturing toxic contaminant residue as it makes immediate contact with the filter device or cartridge/canister material.

WorkplaceTesting explains Air-Purifying Element

When using a respirator, the air-purifying element is effective based on variables that often encompass the type of chemical(s) handled, toxic concentration levels, and duration of exposure throughout regular work shifts. Particulate respirators are subdivided into three classes (N-Series, P-Series, and R-Series) tailored to collect liquid and solid particles corresponding to an efficiency rating that determines their resistance to certain chemical composites. For instance, the N-95 particulate dust mask is routinely applied in hospitals to protect personnel against viral infections, however, the wearer is not immune from oil composites exposure.

Air-purifying elements including cartridges, combination cartridges, filters, and prefilter devices must be compatible with the respirator make and model being used to ensure optimal functionality. Cartridges/canisters are normally color-coded matching a specific chemical identity for employees to refer to before using the device. Proper hygiene and safety methods and techniques is imperative in maintaining filters and/or cartridges/canisters to preserve the unit’s life cycle. It also helps contain or prevent the spread of chemical substances and infectious toxins in the atmosphere. This involves adequate cleaning procedures, disposal or replacement of damaged and/or outdated segments, and safe storage of face-piece unit assembly.

When choosing a respirator apparatus, employers must identify hazardous elements that exist in the environment to determine what type of air purifying element device is needed to adsorb chemical substances and toxic contaminants. Correct application of the face-piece unit reduces the likelihood of inadvertent leakage of hazardous agents into an improperly sealed filter and/or cartridge/canister.

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