Mask Respirators

Well, its about spraying season here in the deep south. I am looking around at a mask respirators such as as this model from Amazon:

I have been using a full face canister type respirator for the typical fungicides and insecticides we discuss or the forum - captan, immunox, 3336, Kocide 3000, Fungonil, MMF, and Triazicide. I am wondering if one of these half masks provide adequate protection for these spays. Amazon offer lots of choices for these paper type respirators and I frankly don’t understand the differences in the protection offered in the models. Anyone use these type masks?

Thanks, Chris.


If we are talking about the actual PPE set by the EPA, then no, the respirator you linked would not meet the requirements. The respirator is supposed to form an air-tight seal on your face, which is impossible with a cloth respirator. They even recommend shaving ones face closely (for males) so the respirator will fit tightly against the skin.

Also depending on the compound, there are requirements for certain types of cartridges for the respirator. Generally speaking an organic vapor cartridge is the requirement for most pesticides.

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What would be a good general respirator for spraying fruit trees and we’re would one purchase. If you could leave a link to a web sight would be appreciated. Thanks cian

I just did a bit of research on this myself. A lot of vineyards around here, hence a lot of spraying…and a lot of focus on proper safety. This is what I ended up with:

Separately, I bought the organic vapor cartridges w/ a pre-filter. It’s extremely comfortable, ez to use, does not fog up, and gives protection to your eyes at the same time. A bit of $$, but a one-time purchase…and our lungs are worth it!


I looked at my respirator and it’s a 3M 7502. It’s just a half-mask respirator, nothing fancy. As I recall, I bought it from Home Depot several years ago for not much money. I chose 3M because I felt like I could continue to find 3M cartridges for a long time vs. some off brand.

I see they still make the respirator:

Here are the cartridges I use for it:

I’ll admit, I don’t use it for spraying very much. It does work good though. I can’t smell any chemical when I wear it.

I’ve also used it when painting Bin Zinsser primer sealer. I’ve painted a couple rooms with that and the first time I used it, it gave me such a headache, I was sick to my stomach. The next time I wore the respirator and it helped a lot.

Be sure to store your respirator in a sealed plastic bag when not in use. Otherwise the particulates and pollutants in the air will slowly clog up your cartridges, just from sitting around.

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What is the difference between organic sprays and chemical sprays how come one can’t be used for both applications


I bought a similar 3M respirator at Home Depot also. Mine is the 60923
and I believe it was around $30. I like mine very much, especially when
I had to spray agrimycin. Best $30 I’ve ever spent.

Didn’t I read a post on GW about most people not using a respirator?

Thanks for the reply’s, I guess you just need to check the label as to when it is necessary to use one of these respirators but I am sure many people on the forum here use them even if not required by the label.

I just read the Captan 80 WDG label and it said nothing in the PPE section about respirators or any other breathing filter. I am still a rookie fruit grower and have a lot to learn on this subject. I was thinking of using a cloth mask when respirators or any breathing filter are not required by the label. Wearing these canister respirators are a pain but I don’t like the idea of no breathing filter at all. That may be faulty logic if these cloth masks provide no real protection to chemical sprays.

Seems like I have read some old threads by Alan, Olpea and others on this subject stating most commercial growers use very little to no breathing protection, I guess it depends on the application.


Excuse me if I am misreading what you are asking, but it seems to me you may be thinking “organic vapor” cartridges should be used with organic sprays, whereas “chemical cartridges” should be used with chemical sprays?

If this is not what you meant, then you can correct me, otherwise this is my explanation:

“Organic vapor” has a different meaning than “organic” sprays. In fact the word “organic” itself has different meanings which allows for a lot of confusion.

To a scientist, the word is best understood from a chemistry standpoint. Normal chemistry is simply the study of the properties of substances, and the way they react with one another. However, since we live in a world in which so much of the substances we encounter are partially made up of carbon atoms, scientists invented a whole new branch of chemistry for it, called “Organic Chemistry”. That is, with a few exceptions, organic chemistry is the study of substances which contain carbon atoms.

Organic in terms of popular culture is defined differently. It would be anything which occurs naturally. That’s why a product like Kaolin clay is considered “organic” (because it occurs in nature) even though it contains no carbon.

It gets even fuzzier because there is an “organic” agency, which defines what compounds are allowed for use in organic food production, and which aren’t. It is known as OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute). Omri generally won’t allow synthetic compounds to be used on food, but will allow natural compounds to be used on food, even if they are synthetically extracted. They also don’t necessarily allow all naturally occurring compounds to be used on food. So just because it is natural, doesn’t mean it fits their current definition of organic.

In popular culture, many people think organic food is not sprayed at all, which would be yet another definition.

Coming back to the respirator question, an “organic vapor” cartridge would use the word organic in the more scientific sense (i.e. organic [carbon] chemistry]). From a pesticide application standpoint, an organic vapor cartridge would be effective for use with current synthetic or organic pesticides used on crops, since both groups of pesticides contain carbon and would be filtered out by the cartridge.

They have different cartridges available for inorganic substances, like ammonia, hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, even mercury vapor, but of course would not be useful or necessary for applying pesticides.


I agree those 3M respirators are very inexpensive and seem to work well. The soft rubber molds easily to one’s face.

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I have the 3m 7502 … i use it when playing around with insulation. I use the pink filters whatever they are…fits nicely… seems to work…not sure how its going to work with pesticides.

Hi Ray,

I need a new respirator mask but could not find the 3M model you mentioned. Do you still can get it at Home Depot?

You probably can clarify it for me. One of the3M masks states that it is for “non harmful pesticide and vapor from pesticide and stains”.

What is non- harmful pesticide vs harmful pesticide, please?

If they don’t have that particular model, I’m sure they’ll have similar
models. They’re all very similar.

Hi Mamuang,

I’m not sure what they mean by that. I know pesticides which require respirators will say what type of respirator cartridge is required on the label.

For example, sometimes I will spray some Ziram. The label says, “Dust/mist filtering respirator (MSHA/NIOSH approval number prefix TC-21C), or a NIOSH approved respirator with any N, R, P or HE filter”

That’s the most common label (i.e. N, R, P, or HE filter) The respirator I have uses the P100 cartridges, and so complies with the label, but an N, R, or HE cartridge would also comply with just about any pesticide you’d probably use.

Thanks, Mark. I know you have an answer. Will need to study up before buying a new one soon.

The one I quoted, I checked them on Amazon. It’s 3M with Amazon write-up.

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anyone got any updates or ideas on what the best masks are? I’d like to get one this year as my spraying program will get bigger and more involved each year my trees grow…

You might see this thread