The certification of air-purifying respirators under the final rule will enable respirator users to select from a broader range of certified respirators. An of these new respirators will meet the performance criteria recommened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for respiratory devices used in healthcare settings for protection against Mycobacterifim tuberculosis, the infectious agent that causes tuberculosis. All nine classes of air-purifying particulate respirators to be certified, under the provision of the new particulate filter tests exceed the performance recommendations contained in the CDC guidelines. Several of these new classes of air-purifying, particulate respirators are expected to be less expensive than respirators with HEPA filters. This action is the first of a series of modules that will upgrade curreat respirator approval standards incrementally. This modular approach will allow improvements to be implemented on a safety and health priority basis, as well as facilitate adaptation to new requirements by the manufacturers and users of respirators. It also will expedite the incorporation of technological advancements and will allow for expeditious response to emerging hazards.
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