When working with any pesticide, you must follow all personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements listed on the label. This is for your safety, and also is a legal requirement for using a pesticide. Respirators, a type of PPE, are required when a pesticide can be harmful if inhaled. Respirator requirements on pesticide labels are very specific when required for pesticide handling tasks. Be sure that any respirator you choose for protection against pesticides is certified by NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Nuisance dust masks, such as the one-strap dust mask, are not suitable for use with pesticides, even granular or dust formulations. They are not approved by NIOSH, and therefore not considered respirators.

“NIOSH” is printed in the center of this N95 particulate filter respirator. All respirators used when handling pesticides require this designation.


In this module, we present information on respirator types, selection, use and care. The need for, and conduct of, medical evaluation, fit testing and seal checks before using a respirator also will be covered. Text and images used in this site have been extracted with permission from the publication, Respirators for Handling Pesticides, by Jan R. Hygnstrom, Clyde L. Ogg and Cheryl A. Alberts, University of Nebraska.

Compiled by Wayne Buhler, PhD, North Carolina State University