3M 6291 HEPA Respirators/Masks Customer Q & A

3M 6291 HEPA Respirators/Masks Product Details
Q1: What type of mask should I wear for welding galvanized steel ?

A: Good question! This 3M 6291 is an excellent choice in terms of a good welding mask. The mask comes standard with P100 HEPA rated filters that are also oil particle resistant. Specifically for the fumes associated with welding, the Organic Vapor Cartridges, listed lower on this page, are your best option. They give up a little, in terms of straight particle filtration, but can better target the fumes and chemical vapors commonly, the oxides associated with welding. I would opt for this mask, and if you find the P100 filters don't provide the chemical vapor filtration you need, you can always pick up the Organic Vapor cartridges. Hope that helps!

Q2: what mask is best to filter out smoke? I am a heart patient who uses public transportation. Smoke from smokers, fires or exhaust causes immediate cardiac symptoms. Thanks

A: The best is going to be this 6291 with the MultiGas or Organic Vapor filters. These masks seal better than most others and there is more odor/smoke adsorbing carbon in the filter cartridges than other masks. Typically though, I recommend start with the least restrictive and mask and work from there. For nuisance level smoke and odors, while traveling, out in the open or driving not for something like sitting in a smoky bar or by a campfire, the Honeycomb Carbon mask is a good fit for most. It's less expensive and the carbon in the filter does a good job with nuisance level smoke/odors and pollutants. Some people will even double the filters up for more robust filtration without losing the slim fit of this mask. The Respro Techno also does a decent job on smoke and odors. The Vogmask then RZ are the least robust of our offering, in terms of removing smoke/odors/chemical vapors. Still, if the look of the 6291 isn't a concern, then opt for it with a set of cartridges for the best filtration of these pollutants. Hope that helps!

Q3: I have a severe anaphylactic seafood/shellfish allergy. I even react to aerosolized particles that are present in the air, especially when seafood is cooked or hot. Is there a filter I could use while flying that would prevent a reaction?

A: You could try this mask or if you want to try a less expensive option but one that will provide the same filtration, opt for the 3M 8293. It is HEPA rated, like this 6291, and the 8293 works with oil based particulate 8233 does not, so it adds a little extra protection. Hope that helps!

Q4: which product is best for airborne gluten hypersensitivity especially the dust and fumes of cooked goods. I have to fly quite often and need the best protection possible with the most breathability while in-flight. Cause you

A: The 3M 8233 is probably your best bet. It's easy to take with you than the 6291 but offers HEPA filtration of particles. Odors are going to be another matter. To remove the particles that often make up odors, activated carbon is best, but if you go with a carbon mask, you'll give up particle filtration. The 6291 has organic vapor and multigas cartridges but when using these, the particle filtration is nowhere near as robust. HEPA filtration will capture some of the particles that make up odors and fumes, but certain elements cannot be filtered by physical methods HEPA. A mask like a N99 Vogmask might also be an option. Instead of HEPA filtration P100, the Vogmasks offers N99 very similar but does have a thin layer of activated carbon for odor adsorption. Hope that helps!

Q5: I am a home inspector and crawl into crawlspaces and attics daily. I come across rodent pings, dead rodents, dust from all manor of construction debris, molds, etc. I wear a HEPA respirator, but I am wondering what your recommendation for the best filter for this type of work would be? Thanks!

A: HEPA is going to be the best. While a carbon based filter will help with odors such as the dead rat you mentioned!, the vast majority do so at the expense of less than HEPA particle filtration. With likely the most common health hazard being mold, the particle filtration of a HEPA mask is likely the better bet. In terms of HEPA masks, the 6291 is really good. The upside for you is with replaceable filters, you can easily wash the body of the mask itself and replace filters as needed. The downside is probably cost and look. The 8233 or 8293 is also a good option only difference being that the 8293 will also trap oil based particles. The upside is this mask is softer, easy to tuck into a jacket pocket, and after several uses you can just toss it and get a new one. Either should work well for you. Hope that helps!

Q6: I'm going to be using the mask to clean out a shed with rodent pings. What is included with the mask? Does it come with the filters and cartridges or do I need to buy them separately?

A: This respirator comes with the mask as well as two of the HEPA rated P100 filters the big pink round ones. If you wanted something for odors/fumes, the Multi Gas cartridges are sold separately and would be used instead of the included P100 filters.

Q7: Which of your masks best filters out scents like laundry detergents, perfumes, smoke, as well as VOC's, paint fumes, etc? PLEASE HELP ME FIND THE RIGHT MASK. The "I can Breathe" masks do not provide enough filtration. Thank you sooooooo much.

A: Two options. In terms of filtering the pollutants you described, some people will double up the carbon filters in the ICanBreathe masks. This will reduce airflow, but it is something some of our customers do. And, if the ICanBreathe isn't filtering as much as you'd like, then the Respro, in terms of smoke, fragrances, etc. won't be too much better. So that leaves the 6291. Out of the package, it won't capture as much as you'd like. While it will filter some fragrance and smoke particles, the HEPA filters are best designed for particulate. However, add the MultiGas cartridges and this should work for you. These cartridges use a thicker bed of filter media to adsorb odors, fragrances, etc. than any of the other masks we offer. I've used this mask with these, and unless someone is literally blowing cigarette right into the filter, right beside your face, it does a great job of removing odors, fragrances and smoke. Hope that helps!

Q8: How do you know when its time to change the hepa filters?

A: A couple ways. First, how long have you used the filter? Typically, they provide 50-60 hours of use. This will vary though, depending on your specific conditions of use. Second, have you experienced "breakthrough"? This is when the filter has been compromised and particulate is passing through. Depending how you're using it, you may taste, smell or even feel if the filter is no longer performing as it once did. Lastly, is it more difficult to breathe through? A noticeable difference in breathability new vs. now is generally a good indicator that the filter needs to be replaced. Now, if you only use the mask very sporadically, say all day but only a few times per year, the filters will generally last you a few years before needing to be replaced. However, this is going to remain true only if you're sealing the mask up between uses or at least storing it in a clean, dry location reduces any chances of mold .

Q9: I'm allergic to smoke, will it protect my lungs from it?

A: Somewhat. HEPA filter media isn't specifically designed for the contaminants that are contained in smoke. While they will certainly filter out some of the molecules found in tobaco, wood fire smoke and exhaust, for better filtration of those specific compounds, you would likely want to use either the optional organic vapor or multigas cartridges. The HEPA filters come standard, so you can try with those and see how well they perform then opt for the cartridges if you find the concentrations of smoke are high enough that they are passing through the HEPA filter. Hope that helps!

Q10: How am I supposed to measure for a mask if I don't have it??? 4.75 or 5.00 Woman of average head size...

A: The measurement is to give you something to compare the distance from the middle of your nose to just under your chin. In general though, the 6291 medium fits most people fine. Generally speaking, if you're less than 6' tall and 240 lbs. or so, the medium will fit with no issues.

Q11: Hi I have asthma and cannot be outside with the weed or grass pollen. I haven't been able to use my outdoor hot tub because of my allergies. I am also disabled an desperate to get back in my hot tub as I helps me greatly. Would I be able to use this product when I'm in my hot tub? If not could you recommend something that I can use? Thanks!

A: You could use any of the masks in the hot tub, just try to avoid getting them wet. With this mask in particular, the body/shell of the mask can be wet but you'll want to keep the filters dry. Additionally, should a little water splash up on them not like you completely submerge the mask, simply allow it to completely air dry and you should be just fine using that set of filters again. Hope that helps!

Q12: I would like to know how people that wear glasses have fared wearing this mask. I have had issues trying to get a comfortable fit with dust masks and keeping from having gaps that let in dust and pollen

A: Most people encounter some issue with glasses and masks. It usually stems from either a bad seal around the cheeks and nose or simply needing to be adjusted. We often get people who mention that the mask just needed to be adjust properly to ensure the seal around the cheek/nose area, and it took care of any fogging. With this mask in particular, the rubber shell does seal well around the face if adjusted properly, and two straps give you the ability to keep the mask tight to the face. So by in large, most people who have had any issues have been able to simply adjust them out. Hope that helps!

Q13: How long do the filters last for? Thanks!

A: Typically you'll get about 60-80 hours of use, but there is a good deal of variability built into that number. It will shift depending on how frequently you use, what the concentration of particles is in the space where you are using it, what type of activity are you doing with the mask on, etc. All these things and drive that number up or down. Since there is no activated carbon, people tend to stretch these filters a bit longer. So as final rule of replacement, if it's starting to get difficult to pull air through/breathe, replace it.

Q14: Are these suitable for a herbarium where fungal spores will be?

A: They SHOULD help. I am relying solely on generalized data in terms of average fungal spore size. But, the average size ranges from just a few microns 2-5 to well over 100. More will likely be on the small side of this range, but with a HEPA mask rated to filter 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger, you should be able to remove most of the spores in this range, that you may encounter. Of course, I cannot give very definitive answers since there are a lot of variables that will impact filtration performance including not only the size of the spores but also the type and concentration of the spores in the space where you are working, length of time you are working in that space, etc. For work in a herbarium though, a HEPA respirator, when properly fitted, should help to dramatically reduce exposure and most types of fungal spores. Hope that helps!

Q15: I own a small hobby farm, which includes raising pigs. Every time I do any work in the barn it takes 2 days to get rid of the effects of the dust and hay. Will this mask allow me to do work in the barn for hours at a time without my asthma flaring up, or what other option would you suggest?

A: Truthfully, something as simple as the 8210 dust mask should help. I might try this first before investing in a heavier duty mask. The 6291 should most certainly eliminate nearly all the dust you are breathing in right now, but I would progressively build up to that type of mask. You may find the inexpensive 8210 does the trick. If it doesn't though, any of the 3M HEPA masks will work well. the 6291, 8233 or 8293.

Q16: Hello, I had a few questions about this product, as I am very interested. *Would his work well for filtering out chemical perfumes and fragrances? *What materials are the product made of, aside from plastic? Such as the material of the HEPA filter itself? Thank you Sara

A: Not ideal, in terms of fragrance filtration. The mask itself is a non-latex rubber, and the HEPA filter is a cloth HEPA filter media material. There is some plastic used as well. For better odor and fragrance filtration, opt for the Organic Vapor cartridges. The give up a little in terms of particle filtration but will provide much better filtration of perfumes, odors and vapors.

Q17: I just started working for a house cleaning company and I have severe allergies and mild asthma. We work with bleach and ammonia in our client's bathrooms and kitchens. Would this filter those chemicals?

A: Yes, but only with the optional Organic Vapor cartridges. The standard pink HEPA filters are great for particles but are somewhat lacking when it comes to chemical vapors, fumes or odors. However, the Organic Vapor cartridges are specifically suited to tackle odors and chemical vapors. You can find these filtes at the bottom of the 6291 page.

Q18: My husband needs a mask for spraying isocyanate paint but he is developing an allergy to the latex on his current mask. Can you advise which mask he could use that is latex free.

A: Nearly all of the masks we offer, including the 3M 6291 respirator, are latex free. If you go with the 6291, opt for the Organic Vapor filters. These will provide better filtration of solvents, organic vapors and fumes.

Q19: Hi, I am interested in finding a repirator mask that would protect my lungs if I need to use household cleaning products like beach. Which mask, if any would you recommend? Thank you very much. Sue E.

A: You could try the 3M 6291 with the Organic Vapor filters. This will trap some compounds and odors that you'll come across using common household cleaners. You might also want to try the Honeycomb Carbon mask. The layer of activated carbon in the mask's filters will help adsorb some chemical vapors and odors.

Q20: I am looking for a mask that will filter out perfume from scented paper. Since I work at a bookstore, I am around perfumed magazines and strong ink smells all day...What kind of mask can I wear while stocking the magazine rack with the latest scent-laden issues of Vogue and Glamour?

A: Look towards masks with some activated carbon in them, as these masks will filter out fragrances best. So the Honeycomb carbon mask is the most unobtrusive mask of this type. Next I would look to a Respro mask. Either the Techno, Sportsta or the Aero with chemical/particle filters would fit the bill.

Q21: My Dad melts lead shot for making shotgun shells,the smoke is terrible. I am worried about his health from lead exposure. Which type of respirator/mask would be best for this type of exposure

A: Yes, this is one of the best masks for exposure to lead and lead fumes. For an instance like this, you'll want to steer towards something that offers true HEPA filtration, so this 3M respirator or this soft, disposable 8233 respirator are both excellent choices.

Q22: Does this mask come in size Small or can it be ordered? I need a mask to wear in a professional paint booth. Is this the mask you would recommend? FYI - I assume small is what I need as that is the size of my Aero mask.

A: We do not currently offer this mask in a Small size. The medium fits most people with the large usually fitting the remainder. Because the shell has some give to it and the straps are adjustable, it generally works well even for people with smaller faces. For painting, I would indeed recommend this mask. Though I would suggest that you purchase the Organic Vapor Filters. They are more specifically suited for things like paint fumes and industrial solvents. The HEPA filters that are included will work well, but better filtration, go with the Organic Vapor filters.

Q23: I have allergies and my lungs are sensitive to indoor air conditioner. Cold air seems to sneak in my lungs while I'm asleep triggering my asthma . What mask should I buy ? I have to keep the AC very high which leaves the house warm during the summer.

A: You might want to consider the cold weather mask. It's specifically made for people who have asthma attacks triggered by cold air. It's our most popular winter time mask. It's a one size fits all and doesn't restrict breathing. The cold weather mask would help keep the air you breathe warmed while you sleep.

Q24: What mask would you recommend for allergies to cats? Also I think I would need a size small. Are there measurements so I can be sure?

A: Cat dander is some of the smallest, common particle allergens. Cat dander is typically smaller than pollen, dog dander or mold spores, so a true HEPA mask if going to be your best option. With that being said, you can either select the 3M 6291 respirator, 3M 8233 or 8293 masks. Any of these three will provide full HEPA filtration. The 8233 and 8293 are both soft, disposable masks while the 6291 has replaceable filters. Most are one size fits all and all have fully adjustable straps. The 6291 measures 4.75" from the bridge of the nose to just under the chin.

Q25: I want to buy a mask so that I can do housework and not end up with bronchitis or at the least a headache from the dust. I think I've narrowed my choices to the 3M HEPA mask/respirator, but I'm not sure what size to buy. I have a large head for a woman XL hat size. Do you have any advice on choosing the size? Can I return a mask that does not fit well?

A: I would suggest the Large 6391. Both it and the medium 6291 are adjustable though. And yes, you can return it if the fit is not to your liking.

Q26: My husband has strong reactions when he cuts the grass where the pine trees have ped needles or if he rakes the needles under the trees. What filter will take care of the pine tree "acid" reaction?

A: It should filter out the allergens that are causing the reaction. They are likely one or both of two things, the pine pollen or mold spores associated with the decay of the pine needles. It is difficult to know for sure without an allergy test, but the 3M 6291 mask offers true HEPA filtration. So it this can't help, there isn't likely anything available that can aside from a more specialized filter.

Q27: Are the 2091/107000 filters washable in say liquid hand wash. When should they be replaced I can't see if they are getting dirty with pollen, mold or contaminated. My mask gets moisture inside from breathing/my glasses steamed. I did remove the white small seals from inside the mask so the filters would work. Was this correct? The mask comes with the seals on mask inside the unit. Instructions do not show what fig 9 or fig 17 is for?

A: In regards to washing, I wouldn't recommend it. Not all HEPA filters are washable, and this falls into that category. Replace the filters after about 60 hours of use or when you being to notice a difference in the ability to breathe in through the filters. Those small white seals inside the mask are meant to stay there. They act as flaps and as you breathe in air will flow through the filter and and around them into the facepiece area. When you exhale, those flaps seal up and ensure the air you are exhaling exits through the exhalation valve the plastic piece on the very front that has "3M" etched into it and not back through the HEPA filters.

Q28: I'm working in an attic which has lots of dust and mold spores. Do the 3M 6291 & 6391 HEPA Masks work with mold, or would you recommend a different mask? Thanks!

A: They will filter mold spores and mold particles. However, if the odor is heavy, you still may some of that come through as the best thing for odors is at least a layer of activated charcoal or carbon. The 6291 filters offer HEPA grade filtration but do not specifically target odors.

Q29: I have never worn one before but I have bad asthma and the pollen in Georgia is way too much for me. I am afraid a mask will make me feel suffocated. Are these easy to breathe in? Do they have good air flow?

A: For most people, breathing through the 6291 Mask is not a problem, but depending on the severity of your asthma, it may be a little more difficult for you. This respirator does seal very tightly around the face. You may want to dry a less expensive mask first, like even the N95 mask, then move up to something that seals better and offers better filtration.

Q30: I need a mask that will seal around the nose and is also comfortable to wear with glasses. I need a dust/pollen mask for household cleaning and yard work. What do you suggest?

A: The I Can Breathe masks fit well around the nose area and work best with glasses. For the tasks you laid out, the Honeycomb Carbon might be best. If you want to go with less expense, try the Allergzone Mask. It'll offer your basic filtration of dust, pollen, and other allergens. They're inexpensive and disposable. The 3M respirators work fine for all of these tasks and will give you many uses before you have to replace them or their filters. The drawbacks are that they are warmer and more expensive.

Q31: Do you have a mask that will protect from DIRECT contact with smoke and heat from a wood burning stove. My husband religiously has to feed the fire that heats our house so he has direct contact with not only the smoke but the heat when he re-loads the woodburner.

A: Having grown up in a house where we heated almost exclusively with a wood stove, I can sympathize with your husband's situation. Even when the draft/vent is open you can still end up sucking down a lot of smoke. The best mask we offer for smoke filtration would likely be either the 3M 6291 or I Can Breathe Honeycomb carbon mask. With a thick rubber shell, the 3M mask will handle the heat better and the filtration overall is better since it meets true HEPA standards. I mention the Honeycombe Carbon mask because the activated carbon in the filter will trap smoke better since the carbon adsorbs certain odor and chemical particles. Neither one covers much more of the face than the other, so a singed eyebrow is still a possibility, though the honeycomb is thinner and probably less likely to shield as much of the heat. When stoking ours, I tried my best to keep my head turned, though that's not always possible, but make sure he has a thick pair of leather gloves handy that cover the wrist. I hope that helps.

Q32: I am looking for a allergy mask that I can wear while I am asleep at night time, do you have some product like this? Thank

A: You're best bet is likely the Silk Comfort Mask. It's lightweight and easily allows air to pass. It won't offer as good of a seal around the face or the strict HEPA filtration as the 3M 6291, but it is far more comfortable, won't make your face as warm as the 3M respirator and the filtration will help reduce your exposure to common allergens.

3M 6291 HEPA Respirators/Masks Product Details

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