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Airbrushing safety tips: Mask


Willen
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We have been discussing these last days about airbrushing, and proper care of your health. In order to make this more prominent and visible to all people, and not just those going through the massive Adquisitions thread, I am creating a different thread.

 

In my opinion, when you are shooting small particles of acrylic mediums, vinyls, pigments, and alcohols, in the form of paints, solvents or cleaners, you need to take care to absorb as little of them into your lungs. Some stuff in particulars, alcohol and acetones, are very harmful to your lungs.

 

Usually, even if you are in a well ventilated space, airbrushing so close as we usually do to the models, you will be immersed in a cloud of the above stuff. Plus we don't usually have the luxury of nice, open and ventilated spaces with forced ventilation out of the spraying area, right?

 

Because of that, a simple "paper" white mask will not be enough. I am talking about this kind:

51EbBtl4qZL._SY355_.jpg

 

That mask is perfect if you are doing woodwork for example, but will not keep pulverized particle out of your nose and mouth. The seal against your skin is also not so good.

 

The one mask I am using right now, and is hands down my favourite, is the 3M 6200 half face respirator*. It covers nose and mouth, seals tight around your face and has top-skull support making it very comfortable. It uses replaceable filters, that allow you to choose your protection, and replace them when needed.

 

Plus, I look hot and nerdy with it on:

20150523_160607.jpg

 

Because we use alcohols, the disposable filters that I am using there (and they will last you a while, we don't expose them too much) are the 6001 filters which are rated for Organic Vapors. 

 

I wear it for hours and it seats tight, but is not uncomfortable. I can't feel a sniff of the window cleaner solution with it on, or acetone if I open it under my "nose". Because of the neck strap and the skull strap, I can slide the skull one forward and leave it hanging under my neck if I want fresher air and don't need it (like, when taking apart the airbrush, or choosing paints for 10 minutes).

 

Like this:

20150523_160647.jpg

(LOL my glasses look so crooked!)

 

Mask with filters will cost you about USD 20, so like 2 or 3 minis? So it is not even that expensive not to consider it if you are going to go deeper into airbrushing.

 

Hope this is helpful to you guys, and please add more airbrushing tips if you feel like it; I can always edit the thread title to add yours.

 

* The 6200 model halfpiece respirator is the Medium size 3M piece. Large is model 6300, small size is 6100.

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I am of the opinion that any paint, aerosolized, is a hazard to your lungs, for the simple reason that they're very small particles that can be easily inhaled. For water-based paints though, a simple N95 particulate filter should be enough (a step above the common cheap paper mask, still has a rubber seal).

 

Make sure to do a pressure fit check when you put on your mask.

 

Cover the filters with your hands, breathe in. The mask should suck in against your face.

 

Cover the exhaust valve, breathe out. You should feel air trying to escape along the edges of the seal.

 

Takes two seconds, and makes sure your mask is actually doing the job you bought it for.

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I'm with Willen on this one:  I always put on the mask with removable filters when I'm using my airbrush or using a rattle can.

 

Even came in useful yesterday when I cleaned the shower stall.  ::):

 

I reserve the N95 filters for spreading lawn fertilizer or pesticide.

 

Ron

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The only thing I've heard is that with facial hair longer than a good stubble it can be difficult to get a good seal. I was told to use vaseline or something similar. Haven't used it, but passing along potentially useful info.

 

I wear a mask almost every day at my "day job" and have never had an issue with it whether I was clean shaven or sporting a full beard.

 

The Egg

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I was just relating something I was told. I imagine it would only be worth checking if you can't get a seal. I would defer to people who wear the tools as part of their job because I have no experience.

 

Oh, I think it was good advice and something to consider as you said, if you can't get a seal. Although if it's just for half an hour of airbrushing, removing all that from your facial hair afterwards... ugh.

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I was just relating something I was told. I imagine it would only be worth checking if you can't get a seal. I would defer to people who wear the tools as part of their job because I have no experience.

 

Oh, I think it was good advice and something to consider as you said, if you can't get a seal. Although if it's just for half an hour of airbrushing, removing all that from your facial hair afterwards... ugh.

 

blasphemy Sir! My beard is my life! :P

 

 

Thanks for posting this Willen! I going to be purchasing it soon based on your suggestion!

 

Edit: So You totally reminded me of Gordon Freeman from half-life with that mask on!

Edited by Arc 724
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