Category: Respirators

Respiratory Protection Week 2022: Staying Committed to Proper Respiratory Protection Practices

Happy Respiratory Protection Week! Our commitment to respiratory protection runs deep for us here at NIOSH. In fact, we’ve been dedicating an entire day or week to promoting proper respiratory protection practices since 2012. Our goal since the beginning has always been to highlight the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace and provide resources Read More >

Posted on by Marisa Fries and Meghan KiedererLeave a comment

Education and Training Concerning Masks and Respirators for Construction Workers

Various types of masks and respirators are receiving increased attention in many workplaces, including on construction sites. Use of masks is part of a multi-layered prevention strategy for COVID-19, and many workplaces require or encourage employees to wear them. Masks are designed to cover a person’s mouth and nose to help contain large droplets or Read More >

Posted on by Aurora B. Le, PhD, MPH, CSP, CPH; Meghan Kiederer, BA; Adam K. Smith, PhD; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSPLeave a comment

N95 Love – Staying True to the NIOSH Approval

Over the years, we’ve made use of the Valentine’s Day observance to offer a lot of respirator relationship advice. We’ve talked about the importance of high standards, compatibility, when to break up, and when to put more effort into maintaining your relationship. Dear Abby has nothing on us when it comes to knowing how to Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA, and Meghan Kiederer1 Comment

Release of National Academies Consensus Study Report on Protecting Workers and the Public From Inhalation Hazards

On February 10,2022, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a Consensus Study Report titled, Frameworks for Protecting Workers and the Public from Inhalation Hazards. Federal partners, NIOSH, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of State, as well as the CDC Foundation, commissioned this report to address the evolving respiratory protection Read More >

Posted on by Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; and Jessica Biser, MPH1 Comment

Who Does What? The Roles of NIOSH, OSHA, and the FDA in Respiratory Protection in the Workplace

  Over the years, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has built complex partnerships with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the specific respiratory protection needs of workers in different industries. Each of these federal organizations is dedicated to ensuring that workers Read More >

Posted on by Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD; Suzanne B. Schwartz, MD, MBA; Andrew Levinson, MPH; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA2 Comments

Respiratory Protection Week 2021 Resources and Review

It’s Respiratory Protection Week! Every year we are happy to acknowledge this observance as a time for a little R&R. No – we aren’t implying that you should take a nap. By R&R we mean new resources and review of all NIOSH respiratory protection information that has become available since last September. Over the course Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MALeave a comment

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.S11 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, MS6 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, PhD26 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, DrPH13 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, MA3 Comments

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

Please note that this blog is specifically about respirators used by healthcare workers during long shifts and not facemasks worn as barrier control to stop the spread of COVID.   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. 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, CRNP34 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