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  1. Gas - a fluid (as air) that has no independent shape, volume or area but tends to expand indefinitely
  2. Vapours - (steam) a gas obtained as a result of heating a liquid
  3. Dust, Smoke - a suspension of fine or very fine solid particles in a gas
  4. Mist - fine droplets of a liquid suspended in a gas
  5. Aerosol - a dispersed system in which the continuous phase is a gas, and the dispersed phase is a liquid (in the case of mist) or a solid (in the case of smoke and dust)
  6. PAC - Peak Admissible Concentration - such a concentration of any substance, the impact of which on a human being during eight-hour working periods throughout his professional activity should not cause any adverse changes to his state of health. PAC values are defined for most hazardous dusts in the Decree of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 01.12.1989.
Aim: There are three ways through which harmful substances may get into the human organism: through the skin, digestive tract or respiratory tract. The aim of this study is to provide information on the methods and means of protecting the human respiratory tract.

Legal context: All harmful substances have their determined PAC values. If the values are exceeded, an employer is obliged to equip the employee with proper protective equipment. The equipment must be certified by the Central Institute of Labour Protection and must have the required attestations. This imposes on the producer or importer the duty to label the respiratory tract protection equipment with the "CE" sign, to attach user manuals, declarations of conformity with appropriate standards, and give the number of the certificate obtained. In Europe and Poland the basis for interpretation in this field are the following standards: PN-EN 149:1996, EN 149:2001 concerning dust impurities, and PN-EN 141 concerning absorbers and filtering absorbers. Investigations of the work environment are carried out by "SAN-EPID". Without professional measurements, the choice of proper protection may be significantly imprecise or often even impossible.