3M Safety Products
offers a range of respirators designed to protect the wearer against exposure to diesel particulates.
The International Agency for Research for Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organisation (WHO), recently changed its classification of diesel exhaust from Class 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) to Class 1 (carcinogenic to humans). This classification was based on sufficient evidence that exposure was associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.
Given that diesel engines are widely used to power vehicles and equipment, workers are constantly exposed to exhaust containing a complex mixture of airborne contaminants in both gaseous and particulate forms.
Short-term health effects from continuous exposure to diesel particulate include headache, nausea, dizziness, cough, bronchitis, irritation of eyes, nose and throat as well as asthma attacks.
Potential longer term effects include cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, emphysema, and lung and bladder cancer.
Reducing exposure to diesel particulate
In addition to improvements in engine technology (catalytic converters), exhaust filters and low sulphur fuels designed to reduce emissions and use of scrubbers to improve air quality, P2 rated respirators are recommended as an effective means of reducing worker exposure to diesel particulate.
One of the biggest contributors to reduced respiratory protection is poor fit. The AS/NZS1715:2009 Standard states that fit testing is mandatory for all users of tight fitting face-pieces. To ensure effective fit of disposable and reusable respirators, 3M offers qualitative fit test kits.
Suggested 3M respirators that protect against diesel particulate
3M’s three respirator ranges from its comprehensive offering of respiratory protection equipment include disposable respirators, reusable respirators and powered and supplied air respirators.
3M Cupped Particulate Respirators 8822, P2, Valved
Featuring a P2 rated filter and unique exhalation valve, this respirator assists in reducing exposure to diesel particulate in workplaces.
3M Half Face Respirators 7500 Series with 3M Particulate Filters 2128, GP2
The particulate filter provides P2 protection for diesel particulate and has additional carbon, which reduces exposure to odours and unburned fuel vapours produced by poorly tuned diesel engines.
3M Airstream Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR)
The Airstream PAPR helmet is a rugged Australia/ New Zealand Standards compliant respiratory protection system that provides integrated high impact head, eye and face protection. The versatile helmet offered with an optional P2 filter with added carbon for odour removal is suitable for work environments where airborne diesel exhaust fumes may be present.