How does a respirator/gas mask work? How does it filter out only certain air particles while allowing healthy ones to pass through?

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How does a respirator/gas mask work? How does it filter out only certain air particles while allowing healthy ones to pass through?

In: Technology

Limits on molecule size that can pass thru, reaction with the filter in use (active reaction or passive absorption), simple physical barrier so you are breathing through smaller surface area than just through mouth or nose. You could also kill bacteria and viruses via UV or reactive surfaces like in a recirculating system.