Disposable Respirators Standards
Disposable respirators under Australian and New Zealand Standards carry 2 separate approval ratings. P.1 standard is approved for particle filtration of at least 80% capture rate (tests conducted at a set air speed over a set time period) of a particle size down to 0.001mm or 1 micron. The P.1 standard is designed for low to moderate levels of protection mainly from mechanically or physically agitated particles, such as when you sweep fine dust, remove, cut or sand, plough a field, polish metal, etc.
P.2 standard is for mechanical and thermally generated particle in dry or wet form, therefore finer particles are involved from thermal heat sources and high pressure spray generation. AS/NZS 1716 calls for P.2 level respirators to filter at 94% minimum efficiency down to a particle size of 0.0003mm or 0.3 micron. This medium to high filtering efficiency is suitable to capture most harmful air-bourne contaminates created in the work place (particularly when the filter is combined with Organic Carbon), such as from welding, limited spraying of water based pesticides, weed killers, touch up paint cans in well ventilated environments. Should more volatile or hazardous chemicals are involved, more substantial respiratory protection equipment is required.