42 CFR Part 84, second notice of proposed rulemaking-revision of tests and requirements for certification of respiratory protective devices, preliminary regulatory impact analysis.
NIOSH has concluded that the proposed rule, if implemented, would create significant health benefits for up to 6.6 million users of NIOSH-certified respirators. This number could go as high as 10 million in the mid-1990s. Additionally, Part 84 will provide significant economic and other benefits to 23 domestic respirator manufacturers, owners of about 7 million nondisposable respirators, and those employers who annually purchase over 110 million disposable respirators. These benefits will be obtained at reasonable economic cost to respirator owners, purchasers, and manufacturers. The health and economic benefits would be primarily of two types. First, users of respirators will directly benefit because of both major and minor improvements in respirator performance, safety, and reliability. Even small improvements in respirator performance would be significant in the aggregate because of the large number of person-years of exposure involved. The total incremental effect for all respirators would depend on how many respirator failures would be prevented and how many ineffective or marginally performing devices are eliminated. However, significant incremental reductions in both chronic and acute exposures to harmful substances would occur over time. Second, the use of performance rather than specification standards would substantially increase the flexibility of manufacturers in designing and marketing new and improved respirator designs. While the specific innovations that might be made cannot be predicted, they could be both performance-enhancing and cost-reducing.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health