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Face masks. how long is to long

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by pr29walk, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. pr29walk

    pr29walk Member

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    Does anyone know of any studies that have been done regarding surgical face masks and how long they can be worn before they loose their ability to stop the penetration of nail dust. I recently had a gentleman in my clinic who has a friend that works for kimberly-Clark. He said that face masks should not be worn for longer than 30 seconds as after this time period nail dust starts to penetrate the mask.

  2. Tuckersm

    Tuckersm Well-Known Member

    Surgical masks are not designed to stop nail dust, but to stop spittle from landing on a patient. The limit dust exposure use a dust mask. Many kinds available from those used by handymen to industrial models, also have a well ventilated work area etc. etc
  3. Jbwheele

    Jbwheele Active Member


    As Tucker said you need a sealed mask to stop the dust, with a particulate filter, better still a +ve pressure mask. Or you could just hold your breath.


  4. In you're situation Joe it might be worth wearing a paper mask. When i was operating on about 2 hours sleep a night looking after a newborn i developed an alarming tendancy to drool when not concentrating. Congratulations BTW.

    I'm not sure walking in the clinic looking like Darth Vader is going to inspire much joy in you're patients. Neither for that matter is holding your breath for more than a minute or so. They might panic if their Podiatrist turns purple.

  5. CAS

    CAS Member

    The recommended European standard face mask or respiratory protective mask (RPM) when using a dust extraction nail drill is the EN149 FFP1/2. To conform to this standard the respirator is single use disposable with a maximum level of 8 hours continuous usage. Of course this doesn't happen in podiatry so a daily change of mask is acceptable. Current Society Health & Safety guidelines have the above information as ‘appendix 9 Podiatric Nail Drills’, found in the Minimum Standards section on the feetforlife.org website.

    A useful ‘National Guideline’ paper for nail drills and face masks by Burrow et al can also be found and downloaded on the following site http://www.salonstore.co.uk/podiatry.html .

    The only RPM available from some chiropody suppliers is the Protex FFP2, which filters larger dust particles, as found in sawmills and iron and steel foundries. 3M Ltd produce an FFP1 mask as do Brosch, with very different pricing. The FFP1 is used in quarrying, agriculture and construction industries. There is no mask currently manufactured that can claim to specifically filter nail dust.

    Unfortunately 3M do not have a website, although their masks are available from:

    http://bhinone.farnell.com/jsp/sear...=3M9310 dust respirator&Ntx=&_requestid=61023

    They work out at around £27 for a box of 20 whereas the type supplied by Brosch Direct are cheaper and anecdotally, have found they do not steam up glasses, you can communicate with your patient and your nose does not get so runny from condensation caused by breathing. If cost is not an issue you could use a fresh mask for each patient.


    There are many pods using a non-dust extraction drill in the domiciliary work setting, some do not even wear a mask. To protect health and wellbeing it would be worth considering wearing a RPM instead of the standard surgical face mask when using any drill.

    I hope this is of use to you all.


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