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Selected Category: Personal Protective Equipment

N95 Respirator Use During Pregnancy – Findings from Recent NIOSH Research

Categories: Personal Protective Equipment, Reproductive Health, Respirators, Respiratory Health, Women

 

Recent NIOSH research has shed some light on the topic of the safety of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) use by pregnant workers. Women make up approximately one-half of the US work force. At any given time, about 10% of those female workers of child-bearing age (15–44 years of age) will be pregnant. Because many women are employed in occupations that require the use of protective facemasks, such as medical/surgical masks and FFR, NIOSH conducted research into the safety of FFR use while pregnant. The most frequently used FFR in the US is the N95 FFR (commonly referred to as “N95 mask”), but little information was previously available about the safety of N95 FFR use during pregnancy. Some individuals complain of difficulty breathing when wearing an N95 FFR or other protective facemasks, and many pregnant women find that they become somewhat shorter of breath as their pregnancy progresses, causing concern that use of N95 FFRs during pregnancy might make breathing even more difficult and possibly harm the woman and her fetus. Beyond the issue of use by pregnant working women on the job, the question also has implications for pregnant women outside the workplace. People sometimes use N95 FFRs as a matter of personal choice during infectious disease outbreaks, during environmental disasters that pollute the air, and even in more common recreational activities that may expose them to airborne allergens, such as gardening and woodworking.

A Perfect Romance: A Valentine’s Day Guide to the Necessary Considerations of CBRN APR Use

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Personal Protective Equipment, Respirators

vday2015Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear … no, we’re not talking about our plans for Valentine’s Day. For the last few years NIOSH has celebrated this romantic holiday by showing a little love for respirators. This year we are highlighting the special considerations necessary for the use of CBRN APRs (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Air-Purifying Respirators). Please note that a respiratory protection program administrator should always ensure that manufacturer recommendations are being addressed and applicable regulations are followed in addition to the NIOSH Cautions and Limitations of use. APR wearers should also be trained to fully understand and appreciate the unique characteristics of the CBRN APRs in order to obtain optimal protection during use.

Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development – How NIOSH is Helping Design Improved Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers

Categories: Ebola, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Healthcare, International, Personal Protective Equipment

Figure 1. NIOSH sweating thermal manikin with the PPE ensemble commonly used by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) for high exposure areas. This PPE ensemble includes a TyChem C coverall (a type of limited-use Chemical Protective Coverall), a custom-made Tyvek hood with integrated surgical mask, rubber apron, respirator, googles, rubber gloves, and rubber boots.  Photo courtesy of NIOSH NPPTL.

Figure 1. NIOSH sweating thermal manikin with the PPE ensemble commonly used by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) for high exposure areas. This PPE ensemble includes a TyChem C coverall (a type of limited-use Chemical Protective Coverall), a custom-made Tyvek hood with integrated surgical mask, rubber apron, respirator, googles, rubber gloves, and rubber boots. Photo courtesy of NIOSH.

The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the largest in history and is unprecedented in many ways, including the large number of healthcare workers who have been infected while treating patients. The large scale of the epidemic, as well as the two healthcare workers who contracted Ebola while caring for the first case in the United States, has directed particular attention to the personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare workers to reduce their risk of infection. PPE is designed to create a barrier to prevent pathogens from entering the body through the mucous membranes or broken skin. Examples of PPE used for Ebola include (but are not limited to) gloves, gown/coverall, mask/respirator, apron, faceshield/goggles, and cap/hood (see Figure 1). Reports from healthcare workers in West Africa indicate that some personnel are able to wear their PPE for only 40 minutes at a time because of the high ambient temperature and humid conditions. Even in the United States, where management of patients with Ebola is done in air-conditioned environments, uncomfortable PPE is a common complaint and causes additional burden for healthcare workers.

Building Better Buoyancy – Developing Innovative Life Vests for Commercial Fishermen

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Personal Protective Equipment, Research to practice r2p

PFD2

Commercial fishing veteran, Brett Smith, works the line in the ‘Rogue’ flotation vest. Photo courtesy of Kent Safety Products.

Think about wearing a life jacket to work. What comes to mind? Do you think cool, comfortable, and easy-to-work in? Or, are you more inclined to think of life jackets as cumbersome, uncomfortable, and interfering? If you are leaning toward the latter, you’re right on track with what NIOSH heard from commercial fishermen back in 2008.

It is an indisputable fact: personal flotation devices (PFDs), or life jackets, save lives.1-3 However, in the commercial fishing industry where almost 90% of fatalities are caused by drowning after a fall overboard or vessel disaster, many fishermen do not routinely wear PFDs while working on deck. 4

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