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Face Masks Have a SHELF LIFE of 3 years ??

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posted on Apr, 28 2009 @ 03:36 PM
3 years ago when the Avian flu scare hit I panic bought ALOT of FFP3 masks (Equivalent to America's NIOSH N99)as well as some kids masks. I did not realize at the time that face masks have a shelf life, 3 years apparantly from the date of manufacture which means mine are at least 3 years old but likely more given the company I got them off likely had them on their shelves a while.

I don't understand why they would be ineffective after this time - mine look fine, they've been stored in the box in the cool in the garage. If I wore them would it be a waste of time and why? Sould I buy new masks ? The only ones without a shelf life are surgical ones apparantly, those ones with the elastic bits going over the ears with the green or blue cloth on the front like Dr's wear.

I'm really angry shelf life wasn't mentioned when I bought them as I spent so much on them .I suspect the majority of people who've ever bought them also had no idea, I mean it's not something you'd connect to a face mask really is it ! So this might be pertinent info for any of you who bought theirs ages ago like me...

What should I do ?

posted on Apr, 28 2009 @ 04:23 PM
very interesting. I did an internet search for specifications for that mask and got this site at top of list and it does indeed say 3 year shelf life.

I have looked at several sites for the 3m N95 mask and none have said anything about a shelf life.

posted on Apr, 28 2009 @ 05:08 PM
The only way these masks are going to help is if an infected wears them and it prevents him from sneezing/coughing all over the place.

I cant count how many people doctors/scientists have said that the majority of infections come from your hands, then to your eyes or mouth.

posted on Apr, 28 2009 @ 05:12 PM
Due to variable humidity, bonding agents and literally gravity, some separation of fibers can occur randomly.

The masks you have are more than likely fine. They are definitely MUCH BETTER THAN NOTHING AT ALL, though now you could probably call them N80's because there may have been a little separation...

They should be fine. Use them as a back up or for other tasks like dusting, painting etc.

posted on Apr, 28 2009 @ 05:13 PM
For those who really want to have maximum protection against a number of pathogens, look up the 3M 6800 series of full face respirators.

They run right at $100. Next, look at the filters. Get the HEPA organic gas filters, which two cost $15.

Now, you can breath for months under normal conditions, and never have to worry about anything, including things like chlorine off-gassing from penetrating.

You buy the cheap crap, and that's exactly what you have.

You step it up a notch, and it will last you for years and years. Just order some extra filters.

posted on Apr, 29 2009 @ 08:53 AM
I am a Safety Director for a construction firm. When I read this, I called around to some of my peers and suppliers and asked them if they ever heard of a shelf life for any kind of particulate mask, and everyone said no. The only part that might possibly fail would be if the manufacturer used some cheap rubber for the head straps.

The only plausible reason that we collectively came up with for why a manufacturer might put a shelf life on that style of mask is for business renewal.

You should store the masks in their original packaging, out of direct sunlight. They should be good until you need them.

Don't forget that style of mask is intended for a single use.

As for the full face respirators: you should avoid those as much as possible. You really should go to your doctor first and get a respiratory fitness test to make sure you can physically handle one. When you wear one, your respiration becomes significantly more labored. You literally have to train yourself how to breath and work in one. Every task you do while wearing one becomes more difficult.

In addition to the fitness test, you must get a fit test done with the mask on your head to make sure you are wearing it properly. Don't fool yourself in to thinking that you don't. You will be surprised.

Canisters for full face or half-face style masks have an expiration date. If you want to stock them, you will have to rotate your stock periodically. Also you have to keep in mind that there is no single canister that can handle everything. SOme can handle a wide range of things, but there is no universal can.

Always buy this kind of stuff from a reputable manufacturer. 3M, North and MSA are three of the best in the business for this kind of stuff. I know 3M and MSA are worldwide.

One last thing: I have to disagree with Atlantican's statement that something is better than nothing at all. Often times that leads to a false sense of security which will lead to exposing yourself to a hazard that you are not equipped for. That is how you get hurt.

posted on Apr, 29 2009 @ 09:21 AM
reply to post by RCarter

Thanks for that. The ones being handed out to health care workers are ones similar to mine I think. I'm thinking about the gas mask issue but to be honest, if emergency service people on the front line are given FFP3's/ N99's I don't see how they could be called useless or not good enough. Those personnel are the most important personnel in a pandemic situation so they'd have been given full gas masks if that had been decided as the best option...which it obviously wasn't . There's so much contradiction over the whole face mask issue but I'm starting to think if FFP3's are fine for Dr's and nurses etc then that should be fine for me. And given I've got 200 of them I may as well use them if I need to. I've got latex gloves, coveralls, eye goggles and shoe covers too. If a pandemic was in full swing I wouldn't be going outdoors where there were crowds anyway.

posted on Apr, 29 2009 @ 09:51 AM
or you can buy a current military issue CBRN suit , which has a 10 year shelf life

or an ex military one (which sell on ebay) used in conjunction with a M40-A1 gas mask

(or in the UK a mk4 suit and S10 mask)

posted on Apr, 29 2009 @ 02:16 PM

Originally posted by cosmicpixie
I've got latex gloves, coveralls, eye goggles and shoe covers too. If a pandemic was in full swing I wouldn't be going outdoors where there were crowds anyway.

If you decide that you have reason to put on all of that gear, your number one threat will not be any virus but heat. You would be surprised how fast you will heat up. If you fall out from heat exposure, you are in big trouble.

Make sure that you are well hydrated before dressing out. This means that you will most likely have to begin a proper water drinking regime a few days prior, and maintaining it throughout the time frame that you plan on being dressed out. Most folks don't drink enough water. Sports drinks are not a substitute. Limit those to a maximum of 24 OZ a day to replenish electrolytes.

Limit the amount of time that you will be in the gear as much as possible.

Remember that if you are dressed out, you will not be able to eat or drink because you run the risk of contamination. This includes smoking or talking on a phone. Not to mention the possibility of contaminating everything that you come in contact with.

Try this exercise: Get a couple of cans of foamy shaving cream and dress out in all of your gear that you want to wear. Then have someone liberally apply the shaving cream on you. Try to take off all of your gear without getting the shaving cream on you. Good luck.

I'd also recommend switching from latex gloves to nitrile. Nitrile offers additional penetration protection and doesn't have the allergy connection.

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