Mask Up

Don’t Abuse Power (Tools)

I was on the phone with my friend Stephen H., when he reminded me how often people abuse themselves with power tools. Steve’s a professional artist, and after we finished talking about a project we’re collaborating on, I asked about his sailboat. He stores it along the Toronto waterfront over winter, and this time of year boat owners are busy sanding, scraping and painting their boats before putting them back in the water. Steve told me that it’s not unusual to see many of these people sanding all kinds of nasty stuff off boat hulls with no dust masks at all. Rust, grime and anti-fouling paint do bad things to lungs, and so do the kind of dust kicked up while doing home improvements. Don’t like the feeling of a dust mask on your face? Perhaps the problem is the brand you’re using. Ordinary molded dust masks are far less comfortable than the slightly more expensive pleated cloth ones. That’s all I use these days. Regardless of which kind of mask you use, anything’s nicer to wear than an oxygen mask of the sort that always comes with the last stages of degenerative lung disease.