View Full Version : What kind of mask do you wear?

10-31-2006, 12:52 AM
I took a break from finishing a painting I was working on because the dust was irritating my lungs and I want to finish it now that my lungs are clear.... What kind of masks do you guys wear? I have the kind doctors use that are material and loose with elastic, not the cup shaped mask. Will that work ok? I don't want to take a risk unless I hear from a few of you to see if anyone has noticed a difference with the various masks on the market...


Paula Ford
10-31-2006, 06:05 AM
I often use one of the soft masks that dentists wear. You can get them in Walgreens, Eckerds, and maybe Walmart. It helps tremendously. My studio is in my basement with no air flow at all and I have a tendency to blow on my work. The masks stops me from doing that and I feel MUCH better after painting all day.


10-31-2006, 11:39 AM

I use a similar one that Paula mentioned. I have another thread going about getting dust in your nose after painting with pastels.

You'd be surprised - for those of you who don't think you're breathing in pastel dust, just blow your nose after working for a while. Even with wearing a mask, I find a good amount of 'color' coming out (yuk)!

Makes me a bit anxious about how safe all this is???


10-31-2006, 12:31 PM
Masks, huh? Ummmm I don't use one. I guess I'll take my chances. I have a hepa filter going (when I remember to turn it on). I do use latex gloves, however.

10-31-2006, 02:30 PM
I've actually taken to using my pastels outside, lol. It doesn't bother me there.

-- Linda

10-31-2006, 03:33 PM
Yes, I have noticed color coming out when I blow.... dusty.

I'd use my hepa during the process but it blows and makes air circulate so I worry about that.

OK, I have the dentist kind, so I'll try it out. It stated on the box it wasn't good for dust, so this is why I ask.... Seems more comfy than using those bra cup shaped cones to put over your face...


Deborah Secor
10-31-2006, 04:53 PM
I've been painting with pastels since 1986 (actually longer than that, although I began using them exclusively then) and never have worn a mask. I never had a lick of trouble and I know artists who have a lot longer history of pastelling with no problems.

I know of one pastelist who has been working in pastels and oils for over 40 years. When this person started coughing one winter the doctors did a huge, every which way to Sunday work-up testing absolutely everything. When all was said and done, they said to stop oil painting in a closed environment--no problems with pastels.


10-31-2006, 06:17 PM
That's great... I ended up getting occupational asthma working at Verizon and ever since my lungs are sensitive, not to turpentine though. I paint at different times than I do pastel...I never do them at the same time. This last time though the pastel really got to me. I think it all depends on a persons lung sensitivity and mine are sensitive. I could never handly a chalky classroom either.

10-31-2006, 08:26 PM

There are several protection levels on those kind of masks.
There are even some with activated coal. But for pastels, I guess that's not needed.
In this case we're talking about TLV / particles protection levels.
One has FP1S, FP2S and FP3S.
Then one has models with a respirator to help breathing and causing less sweat. An example of this are 3M's 06922 FP2S (06923 is the one that is «streched») and 06933 (FP3S). All these have a respirator.
Other reliable brands are Norton and Moldex.
I think that for pastels an FP2S is enough. But only the manufacturer of the product can tell.

Kind regards,


P.S. In case you decide to use a paper bag with a mosquito net as a filter, don't forget to punch some holes so that you can see.

Kind regards,


Kitty Wallis
10-31-2006, 10:28 PM
Mine has purple feathers :lol:
Happy Halloween

Paula Ford
10-31-2006, 10:29 PM
Mine has purple feathers :lol:
Happy Halloween

LOL...Hi Kitty :wave: Happy Halloween to you also...and to everyone!


10-31-2006, 11:25 PM
I use the following mask:

3M 8210 N95 Dust Mask

I would not be able to use pastels without one. Those of you who wear no mask and have had no problems should thank your lucky stars, but please don't assume that all people are the same as you. Wearing a mask is not comfortable, especially if you wear glasses and they fog up occassionally, but you get used to it after a while.


11-01-2006, 09:09 AM
I would not be able to use pastels without one. Those of you who wear no mask and have had no problems should thank your lucky stars, but please don't assume that all people are the same as you. Don

So very true. Everyone's health situation is different. Some of us have allergies, some don't. Some of us have respiratory/breathing sensitivities, some don't. Dak, I do thank my lucky stars but I also run an air filter and take precautions such as keeping pastels out of food areas. What works for one, doesn't for another. It's so important to do your own research, hear from others, then make your own decisions as to what you know will be the best working setup for you.


11-01-2006, 03:39 PM
I always wear a mask. I have the kind with the filters on the side, the small paper ones don't really do much. We all know breathing in dust of any kind can't be good for you, why take the chance?

Kitty Wallis
11-01-2006, 08:09 PM
I never wear a mask, and I've been pasteling almost daily for 50 years.

11-02-2006, 09:08 PM
How on earth could a person wear a mask if you wear glasses? There are many days when I don't bother to put in my contacts, and I would have very foggy glasses if I wore a mask.

11-03-2006, 05:23 PM
Mask? Yikes, if I had to wear a mask I would have to give up pasteling. Masks make me feel utterly claustrophobic and cause me major panic attacks. I wore a mask when sanding the fresh spackling in my bedroom I've been trying to fix up, and I could only do a few minutes at a time, as my heart would start to race and I would begin to hyperventilate just from the trauma of having a mask on. I'd have to run into the other room, whip off the mask, and spends a few minutes gasping and trying to get under contol.

11-03-2006, 06:05 PM
If I had to wear a mask and gloves, I would stop pastelling. It would not be fun anymore.

11-03-2006, 08:55 PM
That's what I thought until I had to stay away from them for over a month due to asthma! The idea of wearing gloves is what I couldn't do... finger cot maybe...

11-03-2006, 11:25 PM
I haven't been wearing a mask, but I think I may give it a try again. Paula, do you have any more details about the sort of mask you use? I have some of the flimsy little white ones with the elastic band that goes around the back of the head (and gets tangled in one's hair! :eek:), which I hate so much that I never wear. But it sounds like you are using something more substantial, and I'm hoping, more comfortable. Does it work with glasses? A brand/model name/number would be much appreciated. :)