NEWSWATCH​
RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
NIOSH: Use of EAPRs, PAPRs in Healthcare Likely to Increase
Comments from stakeholders in response to a NIOSH request for information (RFI) regarding respirators used in healthcare indicate that the trend toward increased use of elastomeric air-purifying respirators (EAPRs) and powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) will likely continue. Commenters noted that PAPRs are becoming lighter in weight and less expensive, which contributes to this trend. 
Moving forward, NIOSH plans to fund one or more grantees to conduct a public health practice feasibility study to better understand the cost issues and ease of implementing EAPRs in healthcare. The agency has already initiated a contract to assess the present use of reusable respirators in healthcare, including an assessment of present practices.
In September, NIOSH summarized and responded to the comments it received on three other questions from the March 2014 RFI: • For protections appropriate for respiratory protective devices (RPDs) to be used in healthcare environments, should NIOSH consider adding tests and requirements to the 42 CFR Part 84 conformity assessment process for splash/spray protection? • Should NIOSH consider adding requirements and tests beyond those provided in 42 CFR Part 84 for protection against flammability hazards? • Should NIOSH consider adding optional, supplemental filtration testing in addition to the existing NIOSH filter requirements in 42 CFR Part 84? To view the comments on the RFI and NIOSH’s responses, visit http://bit.ly/nioshrfidocket.
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