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NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
January 29, 2003

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on January 15, 2003, approved the Scott Model Air-Pak 4.5 respirator for occupational use by emergency responders against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents.

The device is manufactured by Scott Health and Safety, Monroe, N.C. It is a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that provides users with air from a pressurized cylinder or tank carried on the back.

The approval signifies that the product is expected to protect fire fighters and other responders from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear exposures in the line of duty. NIOSH based its determination on positive results from rigorous laboratory tests, evaluation of product specifications for the device, and assessment of the manufacturer's quality control procedures.

The action allows the manufacturer to label the approved device as NIOSH-certified for occupational use by emergency responders. It does not constitute a commercial endorsement of the product.

NIOSH tested and evaluated the device under criteria announced in December 2001 for certifying SCBAs for occupational use by first responders against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents. The criteria built on NIOSH's existing program for certifying respirators for occupational use in traditional workplace settings such as factories, construction sites, and health care facilities.

Development of the new program involved broad national support and collaboration by many agencies, organizations, and stakeholders. The certification for the Scott model is the second approval that NIOSH has issued under the new program. NIOSH announced its first approval under the new program, for Spiromatic Models 9030, 6630, and 4530, manufactured by Interspiro USA Inc., in May 2002.

NIOSH is continuing to test and evaluate other SCBAs submitted by manufacturers for certification under the new program. It also is developing similar criteria for approving other types of respirators, such as air-purifying devices, for use by emergency responders. All approvals will be posted on the NIOSH web page.

For further information on the certification program, contact toll-free 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674), or visit the NIOSH web page .