Dave Trendymiddlename Starr

Respirators in the time of COVID?

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I used to buy the disposable 3M N95 masks for woodworking. I've been subsisting on a three-pack I bought last year. But my last mask is just about spent, and obviously these days N95s are difficult to find and are best reserved for use by health care workers. That all being the case, I don't know what to replace it with. What do you folk use these days?


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I turn wood so I invested in a PAPR.  I haven't needed them yet, but I had purchased a replacement set of filters when I bought the unit last year.  

That said, I have been able to find KN-95 masks at my local Ace hardware store.  KN-95 is the Chinese government standard which is equivalent to N-95.  They ain't cheap with a 5 pack going for $25 (my wife and I are each allowed one per month).  While if you believe the Chinese, these are very nearly the same as N-95, however, they are not N-95 certified and probably can't be substituted for N-95 in industrial or health care applications in the US.  

One suggestion, if your regular supplier says the item is back ordered, go ahead and order some.  What I am finding is that some of these items are eventually getting back and stock and delivered.  

(Although come to think of it, I'm still waiting for some saw blades from Infinity).  


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