NIOSH Respirator User Notice
NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.
Issue Date: June 20, 1996
Subject: Differences and Limitations Between Part 11 Particulate Respirators and Part 84 Particulate Respirators
On July 10, 1995, the respirator certification standards used by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) were upgraded from those of Part 11 (Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 11) to those of Part 84 (Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 84) .
Respirators certified under Part 11 can be sold and shipped by the manufacturer as NIOSH-certified until July 10, 1998. They also may continue to be used after this date. The purpose of this Notice is to remind users of the requirements for a comprehensive respiratory protection program and to advise users of the differences and limitations between Part 11 particulate respirators and Part 84 particulate respirators.
A comprehensive respirator program must be instituted prior to the use of either Part 11 or Part 84 respirators. The requirements for a comprehensive respirator program may be found in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z88.2 (1992), Practices for Respiratory Protection, and the legal requirements found in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.134.
Employers must control workers' exposure to contaminated air by use of engineering controls, substitution of less toxic substances or administrative controls where feasible. Only when effective engineering controls are not possible or while they are being instituted, may appropriate respirators be used.
Respirators should only be used as part of a complete written respirator program run by a "respirator program administrator." A respirator program includes:
- Evaluating exposures in the workplace to determine their nature and concentration (usually done by an industrial hygienist).
- Selecting the appropriate respirator based on air measurements and the exposure limit for each contaminant.
- Training in the proper respirator use.
- Fit testing. It is important that the respirators fit the users' face without excessive face seal leakage. Each user needs to use an adequately fitting respirator and assure at each wearing that the best possible face seal is achieved.
- Proper maintaining, cleaning, and storing of respirators.
Respirator Identification and Limitations
Part 11 Respirators
The filters on all Part 11 respirators contain certification numbers of the form TC-21C-XXX or TC-23C-XXX. Users can identify the three types of Part 11 respirators as follows:
- Dust, Mist (DM) respirators are labeled as "permissible respirator for dusts and mists or approved for respiratory protection against dust and mists having a time-weighted average not less than 0.05 milligram per cubic meter or 2 million particles per cubic foot."
- Dust, Fume, and Mist (DFM) respirators are labeled as "permissible respirator for dust, fumes, and mists or approved for respiratory protection against dusts, fumes and mists having a time weighted average not less than 0.05 milligrams per cubic meter or 2 million particles per cubic foot."
- High efficiency respirators (sometimes called HEPA respirators ) are labeled as "permissible respirator for dusts, fumes, mists, and radionuclides or approved for respiratory protection against dusts, fumes and mists having a time-weighted average less than 0.05 milligram per cubic meter or 2 million particles per cubic foot and radionuclides." The filter (or in a disposable respirator, the exhalation valve) in a HEPA respirator is usually color coded magenta (reddish-purple).
- Paint spray respirators are labeled as "Permissible chemical cartridge respirator for mists of paints, lacquers and enamels or approved for respiratory protection against lacquers and enamels."
- Pesticide respirators are labeled as "Permissible chemical cartridge respirator for pesticides or approved for respiratory protection against pesticides."
Laboratory test data indicate that some DM and some DFM respirators allow unexpectedly high penetration of particles that are 2 micrometers or smaller in diameter. Therefore, NIOSH recommends and ANSI requires in ANSI Z88.2 (1992) Section 18.104.22.168.(j) "if the contaminant is an aerosol, with an unknown particle size or less than 2 microns (MMAD) [mass median aerodynamic diameter], a high-efficiency filter shall be used."
Part 84 Respirators
The filter packaging of Part 84 particulate respirators contain certification numbers of the form TC-84A-XXX. Users can identify three types of filters with three efficiencies each as follows:
- Respirators with N100, N99, and N95 filters (99.97%, 99%, and 95% efficient filters) may be used for any solid or non-oil containing particulate contaminant.
- Respirators with R100, R99, and R95 filters (99.97%, 99%, and 95% efficient filters) may be used for any particulate contaminant. If used for an oil containing particulate, a one shift use limit applies.
- Respirators with P100, P99, and P95 filters (99.97%, 99%, and 95% efficient filters) may be used for any particulate contaminant.
No particle size limits apply to respirators with Part 84 filters. Protection for the user is based on the efficiency of the filter and the PEL of the contaminant, usually determined by an industrial hygienist.
Direct questions regarding respirator protection programs to your respirator program administrator, health and safety representative, OSHA, or to NIOSH at 1-800-356-4674 .
Questions concerning this Users' Notice should be directed to NIOSH at the following numbers:
- Page last reviewed: June 4, 2004 (archived document)
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory