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  • Peg Minichiello

Breathing Air Requirements and Applications

We all know how important high-quality breathable air is. In some industries there are even legal requirements that must be met.

Today we’re looking at breathing air requirements and why the standard of air is so important in specific industries.

Breathing Air Requirements

Worker protection in certain industries is provided by CSA and OSHA, who set specific air quality requirements. The guidelines indicate the maximum allowable contaminants for breathing air.

The requirements needed to meet the Grade D breathing air standard consist of the following:

- No noticeable odour

- Oxygen content of 19.5-23.5%

- Hydrocarbon content of 5 milligrams per cubic meter of air or less

- Carbon dioxide content of 1000 ppm or less

- Carbon monoxide content of 10 ppm or less

- Low pressure breathing air must have a dew point of at least 10°F below the temperature at 1 atmosphere (14.7 psi)

- Compressed oxygen must not be used in atmosphere-supplying respirators that have previously used compressed air

Different Breathing Air Applications

It comes as no surprise that hospitals and industrial cleaning processes must meet high breathing air standards. But other industries like arc welding, diving, aerospace, shipbuilding, to name but a few, are also subjected to these requirements.

Application in Hospitals

As you can imagine hospitals must adhere to stringent air quality requirements such as adherence to NFPA 99 Specifications. Purified air is used for processes such as life support systems, respiratory therapy, neonatal infant care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Application in Industrial Cleaning

Industrial cleaning operations require solvents which can threaten the safety of workers. Inflammation of the skin is the most commonly seen effect of workers who come into contact with organic solvents.

Inhalation of solvent vapours can even affect the central nervous system. It’s easy to see why breathing air requirements are so high within this industry.

Application in Paint Spraying

It is common in the paint spraying industry to use face-masks as a primary source of protection. But these face-masks are only effective in protection from dust particulates.

Numerous air hazards are presented by organic vapours and mists originating from solvents, lacquers, enamels and paints. Extra measures need to be taken to ensure breathing air is of an acceptable quality.

Application in Abrasive Blasting

Sand is commonly used to clean iron, steel, brick, aluminium, wood, plastic and other surfaces in abrasive blasting operations. The by-product of using sand as the abrasive material is the silica dust.

While it sounds insignificant, dust is actually a very serious health hazard in this industry. It can cause silicosis (a slow developing lung disease) that often leads to death due to long-time exposure. It’s vital to prevent this by cleaning air.

Do You Have Concerns Regarding the Quality Of Your

Breathing Air?

Regardless of the application, high quality breathing air is of vital importance and should be a priority. We supply Hankison high quality products for this need.

If you would like to address your breathing air concerns, CDA Systems can support you with this. 925.667.3400/

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