Why Disposable Respirators Have a Shelf Life

Did you know that disposable respirators have a shelf life? Here is everything you need to know in order to ensure your respirator inventory stays up to date:

Disposable respirators are used to protect wearers from particulate airborne hazards and reduce exposures to potentially harmful substances. These respirators have limited shelf life after which they should not be used.

The specially designed filter media traps particulates that pass through when the wearer inhales. It is crucial that the mask fits properly as a proper seal helps keep outside air from leaking around the edges of the respirator.

Degrading over time

The longer you store a respirator, the less likely it is to perform at its full potential. Elements like the nose foam and the strap may degrade and this could affect the quality of the fit and seal. Expired respirators may no longer meet certification guidelines which means that they may not perform as expected.

In order to ensure that respirators provide the best quality protection and performance, manufacturers have set a shelf life. Expiry dates differ according to each respirator and can usually be found on the bottom or side of the packaging.

The significance of storage

Storage conditions are an essential factor for shelf life. Respirators should be stored in their original packaging and away from dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, moisture, chemicals and contaminated areas. Here are 3 steps to remember when storing respirators:

  1. Always store the respirators in their original packaging
  2. Keep respirators away from dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, moisture, chemicals and contaminated areas
  3. Implement inventory management systems such as stock rotation

Disposal of expired respirators

Now that you know how to store your respirators and how to find out when they expire, you may also be interested in disposal options. We don’t advise disposing expired respirators in a landfill as there are environmentally sustainable alternatives.

  1. Recycle – respirators can be recycled into new plastic products. This is a good option as it is cost-effective and environmentally sustainable.
  2. Donate – respirators with at least 12 months of shelf life remaining can be donated to those in need. This is a great solution as it enables companies to give back to the community and possibly qualify for tax credit.

Khulanathi will partner with you to help you find organizations that can recycle or donate your outdated respirators. We’ll also help plan a purchase schedule that can help you save money and reduce waste. Contact a Khulanathi Respiratory Expert for more information: info@khulanathi.co.za