ORIGIN: Moldex® Technical Services Department
DATE: July 2015


Oil spill can result in environmental disaster that U.S. citizens may have to deal with for years to come. Cleanup efforts create a unique need for suitable and dependable personal protective equipment including but not limited to gloves, eye protection, impermeable suits or coveralls, boots, as well as respiratory and hearing protection.

Crude oil is mixture of various types of light, medium and heavy hydrocarbons. They contain organic compounds called alkanes, cycloalkanes, aromatic hydrocarbons, other organic compounds containing nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur, as well as trace amounts of metals. The lighter parts of the crude oil may contain organic compounds such as benzene, xylene, toluene and ethyl benzene. Although when found in high concentrations all these substances can cause serious side effects such as eye and skin irritation, dizziness, cancer and other effects, they generally will evaporate relatively quickly and often before cleanup crews work around them. Often, what will be left will be a thick and heavy residual that may sink to the ocean floor or may be washed onto shores and marshlands.

Aside from the chemical exposures from the crude oil itself, there are many other hazards including chemical dispersants and other chemicals that may be used and a multitude of heavy equipment such as boats, drills, bull dozers and pumps which can create physical hazards including noise.

Moldex® Respiratory Solution

Moldex offers a complete line of NIOSH certified disposable and half-mask respirators. For direct handling of the crude oil N series respirators may not be sufficient as they are not resistant to oils. The use of R or P series filters, which may be used against non-water based substances such as oils, is recommended. Additionally, a carbon layer (for nuisance level odors) might be helpful for protection from some of the gases and vapors created during the spill cleanup, or Organic Vapor cartridges when they exceed the PELs. Moldex suggested models (click on description for more information):

Disposable Particulate Mask
2740R95 Series with Ventex® Valve and HandyStrap®
2360P100 with Ventex Valve
2840R95 Series plus Nuisance Organic Vapors with Ventex® Valve and HandyStrap®

Reusable Half-Mask 
8941/2/3 P100 Particulate Pre-Assembled
8101/2/3 Organic Vapors Pre-Assembled with 8940 P100 Particulate Filter or 8970 R95 Particulate Filter 

It is up to the response command and the health and safety professionals to decide what type of respiratory protection is appropriate.

Moldex® Hearing Solution

Moldex has a full complement of hearing protection devices for most noise environments. Earplugs, both disposable foam and reusable TPE can be comfortably worn all day and provide a very high level of protection.  Moldex suggested earplugs (click on models for more information):

6970/6870 Meteors

6400/6404/6405/6420 Rockets

The Moldex hearing protection line also includes products that are ideally suited for more frequent removal and replacement such as hearing bands and earmuffs.  It is up to the response command and the health and safety professionals to decide what type of hearing protection is appropriate.

View the full-line of respiratory and hearing protection products from Moldex in our catalog by clicking here.
References and Other Sources of Information for Oil Spill cleanups






WARNING: The information contained in this Tech Brief is dated and was accurate to the best of Moldex’s knowledge, on the date above. It is not meant to be comprehensive, nor is it intended to be used in place of the warning/use instructions that accompany Moldex respirators. Outside of the USA, check with all applicable and local government regulations.

©2010 Moldex-Metric, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll to top