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I'm cutting and etching sheets of teflon in a laser cutter. The laser is well ventilated but there is still a very strong odor.

I did a number of small cuts yesterday and did not develop any symptoms such as polymer fume fever but I still worry for my health.

What kind of safety mask would be appropriate for these kind of fumes? Do I also need to take additional measures for my eyes (fumes only-- the laser cutter has a hood)?

  • Where does the laser cutter discharge its air to? – Harper Aug 31 '18 at 4:11
  • Somewhere outside the building. – Zhro Aug 31 '18 at 11:01
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PTFE is mostly an organic, and it's fluoridated combustion products are likely to be acids, thus you should choose an organic vapor / acid gas cartridge such as the 3M 6003

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I have managed a plastics shop in the past and pluro fluro pneumonia (flue like symptoms are a concern) when welding, forming Teflon materials. We used standard fume hoods kind of like a paint booth to draw the the vaperoized Teflon, when welding Teflon with quarts heaters a very low flow was required when using hot air and Teflon rods a higher flow rate was used to pull the the additional gas that was created from the hot air passing over the heated tips. We did not use any kind of masks, just fresh air flow, on the larger tanks that were welded fans were used to flow the air away from the assemblers and we did not have any problems. I would caution to make sure you have an assist gas or air flow to also protect the optics on the laser or they will become coated with the byproducts and reduce the system life.

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