The British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a warning against the
use of dust masks: Dust masks are not protective devices. People who work with
harmful dusts should not use nuisance dust masks to protect themselves from
exposure. HSE is encouraging the voluntary withdrawal from sale of nuisance
dust masks, also known as comfort masks or hygiene masks, and is urging the use
of approved CE-marked disposable respirators instead.
Nuisance dust masks should only be used when dusts are not hazardous to health,
but they are often used as cheap alternatives to the correct protective
equipment. Despite resembling the kind of disposable respirators that should be
used, nuisance dust masks are not protective devices. They perform badly and do
not have to meet basic health and safety requirements. However they are readily
available to industry, DIY enthusiasts and hobbyists, which means that they may
be found in a variety of occupational and domestic environments and
consequently could be used for purposes that they are not intended for.
AplusA-online.de - Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)