Category: Respirators

Advancements in Elastomeric Respirator Technology for Use as Source Control

Respirator design is constantly improving and evolving to meet new challenges. Manufacturers have recently developed innovative NIOSH-approved elastomeric half mask respirator (EHMR) designs that both protect the wearer as well as provide adequate source control – protecting others by filtering the wearer’s exhaled air that may contain harmful viruses or bacteria. EHMRs are being used more Read More >

Posted on by Rohan Fernando, M.S; Jeffrey Peterson; and Lee Portnoff, M.S7 Comments

Relationship Advice on Valentine’s Day: Quality Assurance—In a Respirator, That Is

  On this Valentine’s Day, what lessons can respirator manufacturers learn from Liz Taylor, Larry King, Lana Turner, and Mickey Rooney? Why, the importance of quality assurance, of course. All of these celebs were married eight times—for Liz and Larry, they actually tied the knot twice with the same person—but their repeated unluckiness in love Read More >

Posted on by Joseph Schall, MA; Rhonda Sheets; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA2 Comments

Overview of the ASTM F3407 Standard Test Method for Respirator Fit Capability

The Fundamental Importance of Fit One of the most important criteria for any filtering facepiece air-purifying respirator to be effective is that a good seal is formed between the respirator’s facepiece and the wearer’s skin. The ability to achieve this seal is called the respirator’s fitting characteristic. In 1995, when NIOSH put Title 42 Code Read More >

Posted on by Christopher Coffey, PhD; Lisa Brosseau, ScD, CIH; M. E. Bonnie Rogers, DrPH; and Jonathan Szalajda, MS4 Comments

Supplementing the Supply of N95s with Reusable Elastomeric Half Mask Respirators

As we celebrate our annual Respiratory Protection Week Observance this year, we at NIOSH want to show our appreciation to all the workers who use respiratory protection and the manufacturers who develop these products to keep our nation’s workers safe. Whether your role is to heal, protect, create, or construct, we rely on your skills Read More >

Posted on by Lee Greenawald,PhD; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA and Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD7 Comments

Respiratory Protection vs. Source Control – What’s the difference?

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that adults and children two years and older wear a mask, especially when social distancing is not possible or feasible[1]. Cloth masks and medical masks used in healthcare settings (such as surgical or procedure masks) are important tools in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; LCDR Megan Casey, RN, BSN, MPH; and Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD15 Comments

A Guide to Respirators Used for Dust in Construction

Construction dust can cause serious damage to workers’ health and life-threatening diseases. Construction workers can be exposed to many types of dust, such as silica, wood, and lead dust. Workplace exposure to small particles of silica dust, also known as respirable crystalline silica, can lead to serious diseases, including silicosis, a progressive lung disease marked Read More >

Posted on by CAPT Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Christopher Coffey, Ph.D; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Jeanette Novakovich, PhD; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Scott Breloff, PhD; Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH8 Comments

Heat Stress Imposed by PPE Worn in Hot and Humid Environments

  A recent blog discussed prolonged respirator use and the potential physiological burden that could result from the buildup of CO2 within the respirator facepiece. Heat stress is another potential stress factor that healthcare workers (HCWs) who use personal protective equipment (PPE) and their employers should be aware of in order to recognize the signs Read More >

Posted on by W. Jon Williams, PhD and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA1 Comment

Skin Irritation from Prolonged Use of Tight-Fitting Respirators

Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs) are typically used by workers, including first responders and healthcare professionals, for short, infrequent periods of time to protect against potential airborne transmissible diseases. However, during widespread respiratory infectious disease outbreaks, there may be a need to implement respirator extended use practices due to an inadequate supply of FFRs. Skin irritation Read More >

Posted on by Adam Hornbeck, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, FNP-C; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; Selcen Kilinc-Balci, PhD, MBA; Dana Rottach, PhD; Jonisha Pollard, MS, CPE; and Harold L. Boyles, RN, MSHCA1 Comment

Considerations for Covering N95s to Extend Use

Introduction During times of increased demand for N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), hospitals or other medical facilities may want to protect these devices from surface contamination in order to prolong their use. When protection against surface contamination is needed, CDC recommends wearing a cleanable face shield over an N95 FFR[1]. Wearing a surgical mask or Read More >

Posted on by Jeffrey Powell, MS; Jonisha Pollard, MS, CPE; Dana Rottach, PhD; and Edward Sinkule, PhD, MPH, FACSM

The Physiological Burden of Prolonged PPE Use on Healthcare Workers during Long Shifts

Healthcare workers (HCW) and first responders often work long, physically and mentally exhausting shifts as they provide care for patients, especially during a public health emergency. These long hours can result in fewer adequate breaks for personal care, nutrition, and hydration. During these extended work shifts, many HCWs are also required to wear personal protective Read More >

Posted on by Jon Williams, PhD; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; Adam Hornbeck, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, FNP-C; Jonisha Pollard, MS, CPE; and Jeffrey Snyder, MSN, CRNP32 Comments

Understanding the Use of Imported Non-NIOSH-Approved Respirators

When a respirator has been approved by NIOSH, the user can be confident that the device will provide the expected level of protection, as long as it fits properly and is worn correctly. But when serious outbreak conditions cause a shortage of the NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), other reliable options must be found. When Read More >

Posted on by Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD; John Powers, BS; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA

Uso adecuado del respirador N95 para estar preparado para la protección respiratoria

Cuando ocurren brotes de enfermedades infecciosas, dependemos de los profesionales de atención médica para que cuiden a los afectados, lo cual los pone en mayor riesgo de exposición al patógeno causante de la enfermedad. Mientras que los controles técnicos y administrativos deberían ser lo primero que se considere para proteger a estos trabajadores de la Read More >

Posted on by Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD, y Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA

Respiratory Protection During Outbreaks: Respirators versus Surgical Masks

Consistent use of respirators improves protection against respiratory illness Consistent use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is an important part of the strategy to protect healthcare professionals from inhaling infectious particles, preventing the spread of respiratory infection between healthcare professionals and patients. Two types of devices are most commonly used in the healthcare setting: N95 Read More >

Posted on by Christopher Coffey, Ph.D; Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA

The Need for Fit Testing During Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Proper respirator use is essential for healthcare workers who are expected to interact with patients with infectious respiratory diseases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires healthcare facilities to maintain a respiratory protection program that specifies requirements such as annual fit testing, medical clearance, and training. Initial fit testing is required before using a Read More >

Posted on by Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD; LT Megan Casey, RN, BSN, MPH; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA

Proper N95 Respirator Use for Respiratory Protection Preparedness

When outbreaks of infectious disease occur, we rely on healthcare professionals to care for those affected, putting themselves at increased risk of exposure to the pathogen causing the disease. While engineering and administrative controls should be the first considerations to protect these workers from this exposure, facilities should also ensure that at-risk employees are prepared Read More >

Posted on by Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD, and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA

Made for Each Other – a Valentine’s Day Note about Approved Respirator Configurations

It’s Valentine’s day, which means that NIOSH has some relationship advice for you … and your respirator. Have you ever become infatuated with thinking about your compatibility in a relationship – inspecting and examining every detail? Yeah. We do that too. In fact, NIOSH evaluates every respirator assembly configuration to determine that the performance requirements Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA3 Comments

Good Clean Fun: Cleaning Considerations for Elastomeric Respirators

Valentine’s Day is a day for all of us to reflect on love and relationships. With so much romance in the air, we began to think about what makes for a lasting relationship? How can we all achieve our own happily ever after? Being the relationship experts that we are here at NIOSH, we have Read More >

Posted on by Rachel Wilson, MA; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; and Megan Casey, RN, BSN, MPH6 Comments

N95 Day 2018: Getting Down to the Particulars about Filter Class

Calling all N95 filter facepiece respirator users, program managers, educators, manufacturers, and general enthusiasts of respiratory protection. Today is N95 Day and we are psyched! We’ve planned this N95 Day party to be particularly packed with information pertaining to particles. (Say THAT five times fast.) We admit it; we are pretty geeky when it comes Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA, and Bingbing Wu, PhDLeave a comment

NIOSH and FDA Collaboration Streamlines Regulatory Oversight for N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators

Previously, N95 filtering facepiece respirators (N95) used in healthcare needed approval from both the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).* On May 17, 2018, FDA published a final order in the Federal Register to exempt a subset of N95s intended for use in healthcare from premarket Read More >

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The Engineers behind the Respirator Approval Process

This week is National Engineers Week which is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) employs over 200 engineers and engineering technicians who identify, evaluate, develop, and implement engineering control technology to Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA1 Comment