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    When should I change my cartridges?


    Image showing the indicator bar on the side of the respirator

    • Image of respirator life indicator bar

      When health and safety are on the line, change is critical.

      Information is a key to safety. No matter the job. That's why we developed the 3M™ Organic Vapor Cartridges with 3M™ Service Life Indicator technology. Unique to 3M, these innovative cartridges have an end-of-service life indicator (ESLI) to help users determine when to change their respirator cartridges in appropriate environments.*

      Currently, respirator users typically rely on math models or software programs to predict the service life of respirator cartridges based on their exposure monitoring. In some countries, contaminant taste, smell or irritation is an acceptable form of determining change, which means breakthrough is already occurring. Convinced that there could be a simpler, more effective way of determining when to change respirator cartridges, 3M researchers identified a special polymer which was up to the task. This polymer adsorbs organic vapors similar to carbon and also swells at certain concentrations of organic vapor. As the polymer interacts with organic vapors, the refractive index of the material—the way light passes through it—changes. We then harnessed nanotechnology to cause a visible change in the indicator, when used for certain vapors at certain concentrations.

      The end-of-service life indicators on the cartridges help users determine when to change based on individual exposure and respiratory use patterns, rather than a common change out schedule across all workers.

      And because the technology was tested against a wide variety of organic vapors, concentrations, temperatures, and relative humidities, you can have confidence in its reliability. The 3M™ Service Life Indicator Cartridge has even been tested and approved by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The 3M™ Organic Vapor Service Life Indicator Cartridges 6000i Series are also approved by several other regulatory bodies around the world, including Europe, China and Australia/New Zealand.

      Safe. Accurate. Individualized.

      * Please see the 6001i and 60921i User Instructions or the 3M™ Select and Service Life Software 3M.com/ServiceLifeSoftware to determine if these cartridges are appropriate for your work environment.