it, wear it in an area where there are no pesticides. Your employer or someone he hires will make sure it fits your face.
On the outside of the respirator it must say that it is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
CAN ANYONE USE A RESPIRATOR?
Breathing through a respirator can be very hard for some people. People with problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease or a perforated eardrum may not be able to use respirators. If you are handling a pesticide and are supposed to use a respirator, your employer must ask you if you have any of these health prob- lems. If you do, you must get a doctor’s permission to use a respirator. If you have told your employer that you might have a health problem, the doctor must examine you. The doctor then must give his report to your employer. Your employer must follow the doctor’s written orders about whether or not you can wear a respirator.
IF I HAVE A MUSTACHE OR A BEARD. CAN I WEAR A RESPIRATOR?
If you have a beard, a bushy mustache, or long sideburns, a regular respirator won’t protect you because the mus- tache, beard or sideburns keep it from making a tight seal on your face. You need to use a special respirator. If your foreman doesn’t have one of these special respirators, you cannot do the work.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY RESPIRATOR IS WORKING?
Most respirators do not really clean the air. What they do is stop most harmful chemi- cals from getting into your lungs. They do this with special filters. But these filters stop working after a while. Then the pesti- cide will pass through and you will breathe it in. If you notice a smell or taste, if your eyes or throat burn, or if it gets hard for you to breathe, leave the area RIGHT
AWAY. Go to a safe area that contains no pesticides. Then take off your respirator and look at it carefully. Is it torn or worn out? If there are no cracks or other prob- lems you can see, you may need to change the filter.
Because many pesticides do not have a smell or cause irritation, your employer must replace the filter often.
THE FILTER MUST BE REPLACED
when directions on the pesticide label say so, or
when the respirator maker says it should be replaced, or
when you first notice smell, taste or irritation, or
at the end of each workday. Follow the rule that replaces the filter soonest.
REMEMBER: Respirators only protect you from breathing chemicals. Most of the time when pesticides are used, protecting your skin is also important.
WHO TAKES CARE OF THE RESPIRATOR?
When respirators are broken, your em- ployer must fix them. If they cannot be fixed, your employer must get new ones.
Respirators should be cleaned and in- spected regularly by a person who is trained to do this job. Do not use someone else’s respirator without cleaning and dis- infecting it first. If the other person has a cold or the flu, you can get sick, too. It’s best if each worker has his own respirator. Or you can use respirators that can be thrown away after one use.
Respirators should be stored so the face piece does not become bent. They need to be protected from dust, sunlight, and big changes in temperature. Water or certain chemicals can also damage them. Hard plastic containers with lids are good storage containers for respirators. Store respirators and all personal protective equipment away from pesticides.
If you don’t get all the information you need in your training, or from your foreman, you should call your County Agricultural Commissioner, or the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) for more information. You can find the Commissioner’s number in your local white pages phone directory. DPR numbers are:
Anaheim (714) 279-7690 Fresno (559) 445-5401 Sacramento (916) 324-4100