Air-Purifying Respirator

By Tabitha Mishra
Last updated: May 29, 2024

What Does Air-Purifying Respirator Mean?

An air-purifying respirator (APR) is a type of respirator that filters contaminants from the air, ensuring a steady supply flow of clean, breathable air for the user.

These respirators are used in atmospheres that are contaminated by dust, fumes, smoke, or harmful gasses and vapors.

Safeopedia Explains Air-Purifying Respirator

OSHA 1910.134(b) defines an air-purifying respirator as one that has an “air-purifying filter, cartridge, or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element.”

Types of Air-purifying Respirators

Air-purifying respirators can be negative pressure respirators or positive pressure respirators. Negative pressure respirators use mechanical filters or a chemical medium to prevent contaminants from reaching the user. Positive pressure respirators, on the other hand, have a fan that pushes filtered air into the facemask, allowing the user to breathe naturally and without additional effort.

There are also three types of filtration types for APRs:

  • Particulate respirators are designed to capture airborne particles such as dust, fumes, and mists. They do not protect against gasses or vapors.
  • Gas and vapor respirators are designed to protect the user only from specific harmful gasses and vapors. They do not protect the user from particulate matter.
  • Combination respirators are used in environments where harmful particulate matter and gasses are present, and have filters to protect the user from both of these hazards.

Limitations of Air Purifying Respirators

While air-purifying respirators can protect workers from a number of atmospheric hazards, they should not be used in the following circumstances:


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