PPE-Info Database

Posted on by Judi Coyne, MBA, MA and Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD


“When you purchase a product, you expect it to work. Construction workers on high-rise buildings need to be confident that their safety harnesses will protect them in a fall. Firefighters need to know that their gloves and other protective equipment can withstand high temperatures. Healthcare workers administering highly toxic chemotherapy agents need to know that their gloves will withstand penetration.” [H. Cohen and C. Liverman, Editors, Certifying Personal Protective Technologies Improving Worker Safety, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2011].

How do you know if your personal protective equipment (PPE) will protect you or your workers? To help employers, users of PPE, and others determine which PPE standards must be met by their equipment, NIOSH in collaboration with key partners including the International Safety Equipment Association, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Mine Safety and Health Administration and other members of the PPE Conformity Assessment Working Group[1] developed the PPE-INFO database.

This newly developed database is currently available at https://wwwn.cdc.gov/ppeinfo.  NIOSH continues to actively improve the database to address user feedback.   If you have comments after visiting the website, please use the comment box below to provide feedback.



A 2011 Institute of Medicine report indicated that the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory has a unique role to play as the nation’s focal point for occupational PPE. Among the IOM’s recommendations and observations was the acknowledgment that “more information on the extent and nature of [PPE] use in the workplace would inform improvements in both personal protective products and their use.” To achieve this, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory become the primary clearinghouse for reliable information on non-respirator PPE as well as respirators.


The Database

The database serves as a compilation of Federal regulations and consensus standards for respirator and non-respiratory PPE.  The standards information was obtained from U.S. Government Agencies and consensus standards organizations. The database is a tool for standards developers, certification organizations, manufacturers, purchasers, end users, safety and health professional and researchers.  The information in the database can be used to determine whether a product meets a certain standard and if the performance requirements of that standard meet their need. For example, if you are looking for gloves to protect against vibration and typed “anti-vibration gloves” in the search box, you will receive a list of standards covering that product.

In the next phase, we expect to expand the database to include more comprehensive international and conformity assessment[2] standards for PPE and products that conform to the standards.


Judi Coyne, MBA, MA, is a Health Communication Specialist in the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.

Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD, is the Director of the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.


[1] This is a diverse working group of NIOSH partners established in 2011 to address PPE conformity assessment for the nation.

[2] Conformity assessment is defined as “Demonstration that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled” ISO/IEC 17000:2004 Conformity Assessment Vocabulary and General Principles


Posted on by Judi Coyne, MBA, MA and Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD

7 comments on “PPE-Info Database”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    please let me know if a N95 RESPIRATOR is required for lab staff performing AFB testing by slides (PREPARATION and checking microscope)

    We would like to make it clear that the PPE-Info database is not a tool to answer this specific question. The database provides information about the standards personal protection must meet.

    Generally, an N95 respirator is not needed for Acid-Fast Bacilli (AFB) testing. The CDC’s position on AFB testing in Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidance for Extensively Drug-Resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium Tuberculosis strains is that, unless an extremely drug resistant TB (XDR-TB) is suspected, biosafety level (BSL)-2 procedures can be followed. This means that preparation that could result in aerosolization (heating, etc.) must be done in a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC), but subsequently-prepared and fixed slides can be viewed microscopically without the need for a respirator because, although fixed slides may still potentially have a few viable organisms, they are not easily aerosolized. The laboratory director can add additional safeguards if so desired, that could include the use of a respirator (this would happen, for example, if there was suspicion of XDR-TB).

    If samples are being received from a known or highly suspected source of XDR TB, BSL-2 with full BSL-3 practices are highly recommended for manipulations of the clinical specimens, including additional personal protective equipment (PPE), the implementation of specific procedures and use of specialized equipment to prevent and contain aerosols, and the autoclaving of laboratory waste before removal from the laboratory. CDC highly recommends the use of Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) or higher level of protection. Loose fitting PAPRs can be used; however a site and procedure specific risk assessment should be conducted to determine the exact type of respiratory protection to be used. An OSHA respiratory protection program will be required for individuals required to wear respirators. The CDC guidance can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/laboratory/biosafetyguidance_xdrtb.htm. However, we need more information to give you a more definitive and accurate answer. Please e-mail ppeconcerns@cdc.gov so we can communicate about your situation.

    Info Database related content on this page is so helpful for me in my work. I get the knowledge about how the PPE is important for us.

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Page last reviewed: July 20, 2016
Page last updated: July 20, 2016