What is PAPR Respiratory Protection?



What is PAPR Respiratory Protection?

A Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) is a portable respiratory system that uses a battery powered fan to filter ambient air in the operator’s environment and deliver the clean, filtered air to the user’s face via a breathing tube.  With the air being delivered by a fan, this creates a positive pressure inside the user’s head piece or helmet preventing any unfiltered air entering the head piece – even though there may not be a complete seal around the user’s face.

What’s the advantage of PAPR?

PAPR systems can also incorporate other protective elements for the user’s head and face.  For example eye protection, hearing protection, welding visors, helmets and hoods.  Some products will even facilitate lighting systems and communication systems giving you further flexibility and functionality.  Another advantage of positive pressure and loose fitting systems is they do not require fit testing, this can allow the user’s to have some facial hair and wear glasses if necessary without compromising compliance or protection.

Positive pressure vs. Negative pressure – What’s the difference?

Standard respiratory protection such as disposable P2 or N95 masks and half or full face reusable respirators rely on the user’s lungs to draw oxygen through the filter media or mask as they breathe.  This is negative pressure, as they rely on a tight seal on the user’s face to prevent contamination or particles from entering the user’s lungs. 

Applications for PAPR

Since the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 the demand and requirement for respirator protection, such as N95, P2 and surgical masks has been overwhelming.  As a result the demand for PAPR systems and the relevant head pieces has also increased because of their superior ability to protect peoples respiratory systems from contaminants.  PAPR’s are also very versatile and can be utilized in a large and diverse range of situations.  Industries that are welding, grinding, painting or even smelting are ideal scenarios for the protection that PAPR can offer their workers.  The healthcare industries such as surgeons, nurses and dentists can also benefit because of PAPR’s flexibility of head pieces, their portable characteristics and ability to be used without any testing.

How can a loose seal respirator stop contaminated air from entering my headtop?

It comes down to Positive Pressure!  A positive pressure system is where a respiratory headpiece is supplied filtered air via a battery powered air purifying respirator (PAPR).  This unit draws ambient air from the environment through filters and to your headpiece via an airhose.  Because the volume of filtered air supplied to the headpiece is at a greater rate than ambient air is able to enter, respiratory hazards are prevented from entering the respirator.  This is why a loose fitting respirator does not need a tight fitting seal to provide quality protection!