3M Solutions - Respiratory


Science driven innovation helping to provide comfort, fit and protection

3M offers you the widest range of disposable, reusable, and powered & supplied air respirators for the widest range of industrial and other applications, with unequalled pedigree, gained in the toughest conditions.


Disposable Respirators

Comfortably breathing clean, safe air is important for workers' health and workplace morale.

Disposable Respirators from 3M combine ergonomic design for comfort with proprietary technologies, that help deliver easier breathing and comfortable protection against particle hazards.

Selecting and specifying the appropriate respiratory protective equipment may appear daunting with so many factors to consider and so any options to choose from.  With a simple Path to Protection 4 Steps Programme  it's easy to choose the correct level of protection and comfort required to optimise respiratory protection.

Find out more

The importance of comfort

To make sure that the respirator protects you, it must be worn during all periods of exposure. Make sure that you choose a respirator that you can wear comfortably for your entire shift.

6 key factors to consider

Reusable Respirators

3M range of Reusable Respirators offers exceptional quality and value for money when protecting your workers against industrial gases, vapours and particulate hazards. Not only do these masks protect, but they are comfortable and easy to use.

Path to Protection 4 Steps Programme will help you to identify the right Reusable Respirator to your needs.

Download the guide

Care and Maintenance

3M Reusable Respiratory Equipment requires regular checks and maintenance to ensure optimum performance and protection for the wearer. Find out how to check and maintain your respirator.

Get Care and Maintenance Tips

3M™ 6000 Series Full Face Mask   3M™ 6000 Series Half Mask   3M™ 7500 Series Half Mask

Powered & Supplied Air Respirators

Providing clean breathing air is essential when working in areas where hazardous contaminants are present. 3M offers an extensive and flexible range of industrial powered and supplied air respirators, developed especially for the toughest environments.

Powered Air System

A Powered Air Respirator is a system that uses a fan to deliver filtered air into a variety of headtops and helmets. It allows high mobility.

  • Incorporates a battery powered motorised fan to draw air through a filter
  • Cannot be used to protect against substances with poor warning properties (taste/smell)
  • Must not be used in conditions that are Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH)
  • Suitable for use over long shifts - reduced breathing resistance
  • Can offer integrated head, eye and face protection

Supplied Air System

3M™ Supplied Air Respirators are designed to deliver clean air to the worker. The air can be supplied from a high pressure compressor. 3M offers several products that can connect to a supplied air system including hoods, helmets, full facepieces, half facepieces and loose-fitting facepieces. It allows limited mobility.

  • Air is supplied from a compressor(compressed air must be of breathable quality)
  • Can be used to protect against substances with poor warning properties (taste/smell)
  • Must not be used in conditions that are Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH)
  • Suitable for use over long shifts - reduced breathing resistance
  • Can offer integrated head, eye and face protection

Versaflo™ Powered and Supplied Air Systems Selection Guide

Fit Validation

Disposable Respirators and Reusable Respirators

Tight-fitting respirators must seal to the wearer’s face in order to provide expected protection. This includes disposable respirators (also called “filtering facepieces”).

There are two kinds of tests:

Qualitative Fit Test (QLFT)

A qualitative fit test (QLFT) may only be used to fit-test:

Filtering facepieces and half-masks (with particulate or combination filters) only. Qualitative methods may be suitable for full face masks according to some fit test regulations and only in certain circumstances. QLFT is pass/fail and relies on the user’s senses to taste an approved test agents, the predominant agents being:

  • Saccharin (sweet taste); can test respirators with a particulate filter of any class
  • Bitrex® (bitter taste); can also test respirators with particulate filters of any class

Each QLFT method uses seven exercises performed for 1 minute each:

  • Normal breathing
  • Deep breathing
  • Moving head side to side
  • Moving head up and down
  • Bending over at the waist
  • Reading / talking aloud
  • Normal breathing again

Quantitative Fit Test (QNFT)

A quantitative fit test (QNFT) can be used to fit-test any tight-fitting respirator. It involves using an instrument to measure leakage around the face seal and produces a numerical result called a “fit factor.” There are three commonly-accepted QNFT test protocols:

  • Generated aerosol uses a non-hazardous aerosol such as common salt (NaCl) generated in a test chamber
  • Condensation nuclei counter (CNC) uses ambient aerosol and doesn’t require a test chamber
  • Controlled negative pressure (CNP) uses a test that creates a vacuum by temporarily cutting off air. (There is also a fourth method, which is an abbreviated version of this one.)

QNFTs use the same seven exercises as QLFTs (in the US plus an additional “grimace” test where the subject smiles or frowns for 15 seconds).

A fit factor of at least 100 is required for half-mask respirators and a minimum fit factor of 500 (US) or 2,000 (UK) for a full facepiece negative-pressure respirator.

Read more about fit testing regulations

Quantitative Fit Testing video


Respiratory Training

Your training on PPE should broadly fit into four main categories:

  1. The need for the PPE covers exactly what the PPE is that is required and why it is required. At this point it is really important to be as specific as possible And don’t forget to include people like supervisors and stores people etc in the training, they are important in the process and will need to know some or all of the information to help enforce its use or ensure correct selection/dispensing.

    This section should also include what the hazard is you are looking to protect against and how the PPE will achieve it. There should also be focus here in when they will likely experience the hazard and hence when PPE is required.

    Equally important, is to ensure adequate information is given about the limitations of the PPE. This will help to avoid misuse and help strengthen the information for when it should be used.
  2. How to use the equipment. When it comes to respiratory protection include teaching  people about how to conduct an effective fit check before entering the hazardous zone. Also, consider how to remove contaminated PPE without contaminating the wearer. In this area, the value of practical demonstrations and hands on practice should not be underestimated.
  3. Care & Maintenance of the PPE should also feature in the training. Think about how maintain it and check it is fit for use before it is worn. And discuss the correct storage of the device between use on a single day and between shifts etc. The requirements may differ and a poorly stored PPE can sometimes increase the risk to the wearer, for example if it is stored in an area where it will get contaminated by the process.
  4. Logistics of where to get the PPE and how it is ordered: is it a case of going to stores and getting it, do they need a cost centre? Are there vending machines, do they need a card? Where are the dispensers, what are the best ones for their area? And also how to safely dispose of the item when worn or contaminated – are there special bins, or areas for removing it etc.
Featured Products

Aura 9300+ Series

Ingenious 3-panel design fits a wide range of facial shapes and sizes.


3M™ Cup Shaped Respirators 8825+ and 8835+

The 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8825+ has been engineered to help improve fit to wearer’s individual face shape and size.


3M™ Reusable Half Face Mask 6500 Series

The 3M™ Reusable Half Masks 6500 Series have been designed with tough and dirty work environments in mind. Stay productive and protected – the 6500 Series delivers durability and stability with a firm, lightly textured silicone face seal and strong body construction.


3M™ Versaflo™ S-Series Hoods & Headcovers

Premium reusable suspension hoods can be a highly cost-effective choice for some high disposal rate environments: just the soiled hood fabric is replaced, while the suspension and air ducting can be reused