The 7500 series is a half face elastomeric respirator produced by the 3M Company. The respirator face piece is composed of soft silicone rubber and 3M advertises it as their "ultimate comfort" half face respirator. The respirator features a downward-facing exhalation valve designed to reduce moisture and fogging.
The 3M 7500 series are NIOSH approved respirators and have approval in a variety of configurations (e.g. with P100 filter cartridges, organic vapor cartridges, etc). The 7500 series uses the 3M Bayonet filter system and any 3M Bayonet filters will be compatible with the unit.
Healthcare worker use during the COVID-19 pandemic
The 3M 7500 respirators, like other reusable elastomeric respirators, have been used by healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 3M maintains a website with information on usage of 3M elastomeric respirators in healthcare.
Videos & reviews by healthcare workers:
- "3M Respirator review!" and "How to disinfect and how to insert the cartridge/filters properly (3M respirator)"
- "3M 7093 p100 particulate filter review after 6 months." - A review of the 3M 7502 after 6 months of usage in a dental clinic.
- University of Maryland's 3M 7500 guideline videos:
If purchasing the respirator or cartridges, be sure to use authorized 3M retailers.
Like most elastomeric respirators, the 3M 7500 series feature a one-way exhalation valve; the 7500 series' valve faces downward, reducing fogging and droplets. While the US CDC considers exhalation valves on N95s to be acceptable for source control (as of April, 2021; see NIOSH study as well as this presentation on elastomeric respirators - 19:15, 40:00 marks), some may choose to cover the exhalation valve of the respirator. Placing a surgical mask over the exhalation valve, with ear loops wrapped around the cartridges, is one option.
Some 7500 series users have created their own DIY / 3D printed exhalation valve filter attachments. Note that any modification to the respirator like this will void NIOSH certification.
A list of exhalation valve filters (not vetted!), some from 3D printing websites:
- "3M 7500 internal exhalation filter" - Thingiverse 3D model
- "3M 7500 Half-Mask Respirator Exhalation Filter Holder" - Thingiverse 3D model
- "Exhaust Filter for 3M Respirator 7500 series 7501 7502 7503 IMPROVED!" - Thingiverse 3D model
- 3M's official 7500 Series Specifications (PDF)
- 3M's document library & user guide collection for the 7500 series.
- 3M's website about reusable elastomeric respirators for healthcare, which includes some cleaning instructions.
- List of respirators for information about other respirators