Eight Years Later, Many Changes in Responders' Respirators

Work continues on new approval criteria for various respiratory categories, and the branch chief at NPPTL asks whether users have additional needs that NIOSH could address.

A post describing work done since 9/11 to update respirator standards and certify respirators to protect responders against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies is featured on NIOSH's Science blog to mark today's eighth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. Jonathan V. Szalajda, MS, branch chief for Policy and Standards Development in the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, is credited as the author.

Szalajda discusses work done with OSHA and the Defense Department, with manufacturers, and with RAND to assess and address responders' needs. "While our work, specifically with respirator certification, prepared us well to assist the responders, many areas for improvement were highlighted during the response and subsequent interviews with responders. NIOSH continues to work to ensure that responders are protected when dealing with all emergencies," he writes.

The article says new approval criteria are under development for closed-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus (CC-SCBA), supplied air respirators (SAR), and powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR).

"NIOSH would like to hear from you regarding your experiences working with CBRN Respirators and the NIOSH standards development processes," he notes. "Are there user needs for CBRN selection, use, and maintenance that NIOSH could help address? Have responders used existing CBRN products for HAZMAT or other uses? Has the NIOSH standards setting process of vetting concepts before rulemaking activities been effective?"

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