The initial investment for a cartridge mask is relatively low, at around $50-80USD, which is why this option can be appealing. However, with a tight-fitting respirator, ongoing consumables become more expensive than the initial purchase. Depending on how often you’re using the respirator and what the work environment is like, this will impact how often your cartridges need to be changed. It might be as often as every few days, or only once a month. Generally, these cartridges will cost around $15-30 depending on which brand you use.
Another hidden cost to consider with cartridge masks is fit testing. To meet the requirements of an OSHA respiratory protection program, tight-fitting respirators must be fit tested annually to ensure you’re getting the right level of protection. The cost of this will vary depending on which state you’re in and if you complete a qualitative or quantitative test.
If you’re wearing a respirator, there’s a high chance that you will require additional items of PPE, such as safety goggles, Tyvek suits, welding visors etc. These also add to the overall PPE cost that you need to consider.
Like a cartridge mask, there are initial costs associated with setting up a powered air system. This comprises of a PAPR fan blower unit, which can range from $780 to $1050, dependent on filters and accessories, and a headtop, which can cost anywhere from $250 to $2250. This is also dependent on the type of environment the PPE is protecting you from. Some environments require specialist materials which is reflected in the price range.
Once your PAPR is set up, ongoing costs are very low. Cartridges generally last 2-4 weeks, however these need to be replaced in accordance with your change out schedule, and pre-filters should be utilized to extend the life of the cartridge.
The air that is supplied to your headtop from a PAPR creates positive pressure, which prevents ambient air from entering your breathing zone. This allows you to have a loose-fitting seal, removing the need for fit tests. Due to the portability of these systems, your movement is unrestricted which lets you work safely across a wide range of applications in industrial, healthcare and life science settings. Powered air also has the added benefit of reducing the effects of fatigue, enabling you to breathe as you normally would, alleviating fatigue that negative pressure causes. Air circulating within the headtop moves heat molecules away from the body to help keep you cool.
Still not sure what respirator to go for? Get in touch with our team to discuss your options and to see the potential savings and productivity gains from switching to powered air!