3M Particulate Respirator with Cool-flow Valve

A snug fit, and reasonably comfortable to wear, plus excellent heat and moisture control

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3M Particulate Respirator with Cool-flow Valve



Disposable particulate respirators (what we most often refer to as 'dust masks') are probably the most widely used form of respiratory protection, particularly in home workshops and around the house. And no wonder - they are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and, depending on the model, effective.
 
3M is a leading manufacturer of particulate respirators, offering 15 varieties, the latest of which is the model 8210V.
 
The 8210V is similar in most respects to 3M's popular 8210 respirator. The body is made of an electrostatically charged microfiber media designed to help filter out non-oil based particles - the fine dust from sanding, sawing, routing, grinding and the like. It has a NOISH rating of N95, which means that it filters at least 95% of airborne particles. As with virtually all N95 respirators, it's not rated for organic vapours, oil aerosols, cleaning fluids or gases.
 
It's also important to note that in order to achieve the full benefit of these respirators you have to be clean shaven. Beards compromise the efficacy of the seal. If you have a beard, then you'll want to look at a Powered Air Purifying Respirator.
 

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Elastic straps are stapled to the respirator
Two elastic straps are used to secure the 8210V snugly over your mouth and nose. The straps are stapled to the respirator. Simple but effective. On the masks I tested none of the straps slipped out from under the staples.
 
Two strap respirators provide a much better seal than one-strap respirators, and they're somewhat more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. Still, the elastic straps do have a tendency to dig into the skin when you wear them for any length of time.


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Adjustable noseclip
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Cushioning foam
At the top of the mask is a thin strip of metal - the noseclip. You can depress it to form fit over the top of your nose, which makes for a better dust seal. It also helps to prevent your breath from seeping out of the top of the mask, which helps to reduce fogging if you wear glasses.
 
On the inside of the mask is a thin strip of foam that adds a bit of nose cushioning - and works in conjunction with the noseclip to better seal the mask.


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The 3M Cool Flow Valve (outside the mask)
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The 3M Cool Flow Valve (inside the mask)
The 8210V features 3M's 'Cool Flow' exhalation valve. This is the single feature that makes this mask a standout. The valve is designed so that a greater volume of the hot, humid air from your mouth vents outside the mask. It reduces heat build-up inside the mask, making it more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. If you've ever worn a conventional dust mask you'll really appreciate the addition of the Cool Flow valve on the 8210V.
 
I found that the 8210V provided a snug fit, and was reasonably comfortable to wear. There was noticeably less heat and moisture build-up inside the mask than on a comparable mask that didn't have the Cool Flow valve. And, at $15 for a pack of 10, it's an inexpensive way to ensure protected lungs. For use around the house, or intermittent use in a work shop or on a job site, the 8210V is an excellent choice. For professional woodworkers, or for anyone who needs to wear respiratory protection for extended periods of time, a full or half-mask respirator (like the 3M 7500) is a better choice.


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KEY FEATURES:

  • NOISH approved N95
  • Cool Flow valve
  • Dual elastic headbands
  • Adjustable nose clip

MANUFACTURER:3M
AVAILABLE FROM:Tool, equipment or safety equipment suppliers nationwide
RETAIL PRICE:$15 (10 pack)
MODEL #:8210V
MADE IN:USA
Carl Duguay, December 2011
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