PPE CASE - Filtration Efficiency Performance of Non-NIOSH-Approved International Respiratory Protective Devices: Phase One

Cover page for PPE CASE report P2020-0112

NPPTL Report Number P2020-0112

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory

This report summarizes the filtration performance results from the assessments that took place as a result of the initial Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)1 and discusses important considerations when purchasing non-NIOSH approved international respiratory devices temporarily authorized for occupational use in the United States.

In order to supplement the national inventory of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) and increase the supply of available respirators, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested several strategies to optimize the supply of N95 respirators (CDC 2020). These guidelines include strategies for crisis capacity—those used when there is a shortage of NIOSH-approved respirators. Included within this set of strategies is the provision for the use of non-NIOSH approved international respiratory protective devices that were manufactured under foreign standards but that incorporate performance requirements similar to NIOSH-approved N95 FFRs.2

Consistent with these guidelines, in March 2020 the FDA issued an EUA permitting the use of specified international respirators from seven countries (FDA 2020external icon). The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued provisions to permit FFRs approved in these select foreign countries to be temporarily used in the workplace (OSHA 2020external icon).

While these international respiratory protective devices included in the FDA’s EUA and OSHA’s enforcement guidelines have similar performance requirements compared with NIOSH-approved devices, NIOSH does not oversee the initial production, regulate sustained manufacturer quality control for these products, monitor post-market quality, or have knowledge about the product’s handling and exposures after leaving the manufacturer’s control. Due to the potential to have these non-NIOSH approved respirators used by workers in the United States, NIOSH designed a process to assess the particulate filtration performance. The goal of the assessment was to provide consumers of personal respiratory protection and other interested parties a point-of-use quantitative assessment of the devices temporarily authorized for use.

PPE CASE – Filtration Efficiency Performance of Non-NIOSH-Approved International Respiratory Protective Devices: Phase One pdf icon[PDF – 283 KB]

Suggested Citation

NIOSH [2020] PPE CASE: Filtration efficiency performance of non-NIOSH-approved international respiratory protective devices: first phase by Andrews A, Powers J, Cichowicz J, Coffey C, Fries ML, Yorio PL, D’Alessandro M. Pittsburgh PA U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NPPTL Report Number P2020-0112.

Page last reviewed: August 18, 2020