Grain Dust Respiratory Masks

You can't take breathing fresh air for granted on the farm. Mold spores, gases, and other organic dusts are hazardous to your health if you breathe them in.

Ken Hellevang is an extension ag engineer at North Dakota State University. He says breathing in grain dust is often an overlooked hazard. Tiny particulates can settle deep inside the lung when you breathe them in, and make you ill.

"There’s a lot of farmers who have developed some sensitivity to grain dust because of exposure over the years, and they need to be protecting themselves so that the sensitivity doesn’t increase," says Hellevang. "If there’s been any kind of mold or disease activity that has occurred, that increases the importance of respiratory protection."

Hellevang recommends a mask that’s rated either N-95 or N-99. It should be printed somewhere on the box or the mask. These will give you more protection than a standard face mask.

One of the simple ways that I differentiate is that all of the N-95 or better masks will have two straps," he says. "If you find one that just has a single light strap, that’s typically just a nuisance mask that’s intended to keep out large pieces of sawdust or something like that."

The mask should be fitted tightly to your face. If there is a nose piece with a metal clip, form it around your nose.

Learn more about respiratory protection on the farm.

Most Recent Poll

Will you have enough on-farm storage for harvest?

I just want to see the responses
46% (21 votes)
35% (16 votes)
No, it’s going to be a bin-buster
9% (4 votes)
Maybe, depending on yields
7% (3 votes)
No, I am looking at new bins or temporary storage
4% (2 votes)
Total votes: 46
Thank you for voting.