For Respirator Users
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Respiratory Protection Handbook
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2018-166 (July 2018)
NIOSH Respiratory Protection Resources for Ebola
An overview of Ebola, the recommended CDC guidelines, and the NIOSH-approved respiratory products meeting the criteria outlined by the CDC.
Respirator Trusted-Source Information
Provides methods to identify NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirators and answers to frequently asked questions.
Approved Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs) with Donning Instructions
Tables listing NIOSH-approved FFRs in the seven classes.
Certified Equipment List (CEL)
A searchable list of commercially-available, respiratory personal protective devices approved by NIOSH to meet the requirements of Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 84.
A Particle is a Particle (July 2016)
Respirator Certification – As Vital as the Air We Breathe (January 2014)
Respiratory Protection for Healthcare Workers Training Video(January 2011)
A presentation about the use of respirators in healthcare settings.
The Difference Between Respirators and Surgical Masks Video(December 2009)
A presentation about the difference between respirators and surgical masks.
Donning (Putting on) and Doffing (Taking off) and User Seal Checks Video(December 2009)
A presentation about donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) and user seal checks.
Respirator SafetyExternal (Training Video section)
OSHA Respiratory Protection VideosExternal (January 2012)
- Respiratory Protection in General IndustryExternal
- Respiratory Protection in ConstructionExternal
- Respirator TypesExternal
- Respirator Fit TestingExternal
- Maintenance and Care of RespiratorsExternal
- Medical Evaluations for Workers who use RespiratorsExternal
- Respiratory Protection Training RequirementsExternal
- Voluntary Use of RespiratorsExternal
- Counterfeit and Altered Respirators: The Importance of NIOSH CertificationExternal
Respirator Topic page
A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face, covers at least the nose and mouth, and is used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles, gases, or vapors. Respirators should be used as a “last line of defense.” Respirators protect the user in two basic ways. The first type, air-purifying respirators, removes contaminants from the air. This includes particulate respirators, which filter out airborne particles, and “gas masks,” which filter out chemicals and gases. Air-supplying respirators protect by providing clean air from another source and includes airline respirators and self-contained breathing apparatus.
Seasonal Influenza-related Respirator Research
NIOSH research projects that focus on various issues which affect the use of filtering facepiece respirators.
Respirator User Notices
A warning issued by NIOSH or the manufacturer when a condition or risk may exist with a NIOSH-approved respirator.
MultiVapor™ Version 2.2.5 Application
A computer tool for estimating breakthrough times and service life of air-purifying respirator cartridges.
Letters to Interested Parties
Official letters announcing public meetings, new requirements, NIOSH policies, and other information for our stakeholders.
Notices are provided to inform users of a condition or risk that may exist with a NIOSH-approved respirator.
NIOSH and MSHA Investigation of CSE SR 100 Starter Oxygen Assembly (Updated August 2, 2011)
Filtering out Confusion: Frequently Asked Questions about Respiratory Protection, Respirator Reuse and Extended Use
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2018-128 (April 2018)
One of the most common types of respiratory protection is the filtering facepiece respirator (FFR), which is designed to be discarded when it becomes unsuitable for further use due to considerations of hygiene, excessive resistance, or physical damage. However, due to the considerations of cost, convenience, and supply, respiratory protection program managers have great interest in the practices of reuse and extended use of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved FFRs that are not damaged or soiled.
Filtering out Confusion: Frequently Asked Questions about Respiratory Protection, Fit Testing
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2018-129 (April 2018)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (29 CFR 1910.134) requires an annual respirator fit test to confirm the fit of any respirator that forms a tight seal on the wearer’s face before it is used in the workplace. This ensures that users are receiving the expected level of protection by minimizing any contaminant leakage into the facepiece.
Filtering out Confusion: Frequently Asked Questions about Respiratory Protection, User Seal Check
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2018-130 (April 2018)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (29 CFR 1910.134) requires an annual fit test to confirm the fit of any respirator that forms a tight seal on the wearer’s face before it is used in the workplace. Once a fit test has been done to determine the best respirator model and size for a particular user, a user seal check should be done every time the respirator is to be worn to ensure an adequate seal is achieved.
Fact Sheet: Use of Aftermarket Replacement Component Parts for NIOSH-Approved Respirators
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2016-107 (February 2016)
Worker safety can be compromised by using replacement component parts or accessories that are not NIOSH-approved for the specific respirator.
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
A source of general industrial hygiene information on several hundred chemicals/classes for workers, employers, and occupational health professionals.
What’s special about Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) air-purifying respirators (APRs)?
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-157 (September 2013)
The guidance recommended in this fact sheet will help respiratory protection program administrators, managers, and air-purifying respirator (APR) wearers understand the special features of a NIOSH-approved Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) APR.
What’s special about Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs)?
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-156 (September 2013)
This guidance will help respiratory protection program administrators, managers, and powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) wearers understand the special features of a NIOSH-approved chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) PAPR.
Fact Sheet: Getting optimal performance from a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) depends on the condition of its battery!
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-146 (September 2013) Español
The guidance in this fact sheet will help respiratory protection program administrators, managers, and powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) wearers understand the importance of a PAPR’s battery in assuring effective respiratory protection.
Respirator Awareness: Your Health May Depend On It
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-138 (June 2013) Español
One of the occupational hazards in the healthcare setting is the airborne transmission of certain infectious diseases. The potential of exposure is not limited to physicians, nurses, and support personnel in direct patient care. It extends to those delivering food, cleaning patient rooms, and performing maintenance. Anyone working in areas with patients infected with airborne-transmissible diseases is potentially at risk.
Fact Sheet: Understanding the Breathing Gas Capacities (ratings) of Escape Respirators for Mineworker Use
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-148 (May 2013)
This information will help workers understand the meaning of breathing gas capacity of a jointly approved National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) closed-circuit escape respirator (CCER). Understanding the uses and limitations of the CCER is important in planning for an escape during a mine emergency.
NIOSH Fact Sheet: What’s Special about Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)?
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-183 (June 2011)
CBRN SCBA respirators are different than other NIOSH-approved SCBAs because the equipment must comply with additional requirements and special tests. These include chemical agent permeation and penetration resistance against distilled sulfur mustard and sarin, and laboratory respirator protection level tests. The units must also meet the NFPA 1981 Standard for open-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus for emergency services.
Fact Sheet – NIOSH Approval Labels – Key Information to Protect Yourself
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-179 (May 2011)
Used in conjunction with the manufacturer’s user instructions, the NIOSH approval label provides essential information to determine if the configured assembly is NIOSH-approved.
NIOSH Respirator Selection Logic
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-100 (October 2004)
Respirator Selection Logic provides guidance to respirator program administrators on respirator selection that incorporates the changes necessitated by the revisions to the respirator use and certification regulations and changes in the NIOSH policy.
Fact Sheet: What You Should Know in Deciding Whether to Buy Escape Hoods, Gas Masks, or Other Respirators for Preparedness at Home and Work (2001)
Guidance information on what respirators are, how they work, and what is needed for a respirator to provide protection.
Respirator Usage in Private Sector Firms, 2001
NIOSH and the Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a voluntary survey of U.S. employers regarding the use of respirators. The findings are intended to provide information to develop interventions and to increase the frequency and effectiveness of respirator use in the workplace.
NIOSH Guide to Industrial Respiratory Protection
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 87-116
A single source for respirator information, including selection, use, and maintenance.
NOTE: The decision logic appendix of this document was updated in the Respirator Selection Logic (2005-100).
Functional Safety for Programmable Electronics Used in PPE: Best Practice Recommendations
The objective of this contract was to establish and document recommendations for using a System Safety Approach to ensure the safe design and use of high-tech personal protective equipment throughout its complete life cycle. This project was completed in 2008. However, the information contained in this report remains valid.
Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS) Information
To report any PASS malfunctions and other problems with PASS functioning to NIOSH-NPPTL, send an email to: email@example.com. Please review the PASS Information Document Cdc-pdf[PDF – 20 KB] and provide the contact information listed before submitting your request.
A User Notice has been provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): Pass Alarm signals can fail at high temperaturesExternal, Dec. 6, 2005.
A User Notice is a written notice provided to inform users of a condition or risk that may exist with a NIOSH-certified product. NIOSH has reviewed and concurs with the facts in the user notice as of the date indicated on the NIOSH website.
Disclaimer: Links to non-Federal organizations do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations, their products, or programs by NIOSH and none should be inferred. NIOSH is not responsible for the content of the individual organization web pages found at these links. They are provided solely as a service to our users. A NIOSH certificate of approval is not an endorsement of the respirator by NIOSH. Such endorsements are not to be stated or implied by manufacturers in advertisements or other publicity. NIOSH certification represents that the equipment has met the requirements of Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 84.
Safety and Health in Law Enforcement
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-134 (January 2011)
Law enforcement agencies, professional associations, labor unions, research organizations, and government agencies are encouraged to build partnerships to help reduce the risk of occupational injury and illness among law enforcement personnel.
Guidance Documents for Protecting Emergency Responders
Protecting Emergency Responders: Lessons Learned from Terrorist Attacks – Volume 1External
This report is based on firsthand experiences of emergency responders regarding the performance, availability, and appropriateness of their PPE in responding to acts of terrorism. It is intended to:
- Help understand the unique working and safety environment associated with terrorist incidents.
- Develop a comprehensive personal protective technology research agenda.
- Improve federal education and training programs and activities directed at the health and safety of emergency responders.
Protecting Emergency Responders: Community Views of Safety and Health Risks and Personal Protection Needs – Volume 2External
The safety of emergency responders is addressed by the examination of hazards and personal protection needs that members of the emergency responder community regard as being the most importation. The findings are based on in-depth discussions with 190 members of the emergency response community across the nation.
Protecting Emergency Responders: Safety Management in Disaster and Terrorism Response – Volume 3
This report provides a comprehensive set of strategies and tactics for enhancing the safety of responders by preparing thoroughly before an event and managing effectively afterwards.
Protecting Emergency Responders: Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines for Structural Collapse Event – Volume 4External
The purpose of this information is to serve as a technical source for incident commander guidelines for broad distribution to the disaster management and emergency responder communities.
Interim Guidance on Using CBRN Canisters for Activities Other than Response to Terrorist Events
This interim guidance provides recommended guidelines for CBRN APR use in applications other than terrorist events (e.g. industrial and hazmat response, natural disaster response, etc.). This guidance remains interim at this time (5/31/2012).
NIOSH/MSHA Investigation of CSE SR 100 Starter Oxygen Assembly
- NIOSH User Notice Concerning Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers
- OSHA ALERT OA-3541 Cdc-pdf[PDF – 2.1 MB]External
- MSHA Program Information Bulletin (PIB) No. 12-09External
- Transmittal Letter to MSHA from Dr. Howard, Director, NIOSH Cdc-pdf[PDF – 143 KB]
- Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 2012-139, April 2012
- NIOSH and MSHA Investigation of CSE SR 100 Starter Oxygen Assembly
Long Term Field Evaluations (LTFE)
The Long-Term Field Evaluation (LTFE) program for self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs) for miners was initiated more than 20 years ago by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The objective for the LTFE program is to obtain data to determine the expected performance characteristics of SCSRs used in the mining industry. LTFE program results based on scientific principles can provide useful information to monitor expected SCSR performance and assess possible degradation due to the physical stresses of in-mine use. Of utmost concern is the successful performance of any SCSR that passes its inspection criteria specified by the manufacturer. It is such apparatus that must be relied upon in an emergency.
PPE Case – Point-of-Use Assessment for Self-Contained Self-Rescuers Randomly Sampled from Mining Districts: First Phase Cdc-pdf[PDF – 1 MB]
The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has undertaken a study to evaluate the long-term field performance and reliability of self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs) deployed in U.S. underground coal mines in accordance with the use and location requirements of Title 30 Code of Federal Regulations (30 CFR) Part 75.1714. This ongoing project provides visual inspection data and performance data on field deployed SCSRs. (2017)
PPE Case – Point-of-Use Assessment for Self-Contained Self-Rescuers Randomly Sampled from Mining Districts: Second Phase Cdc-pdf[PDF – 683 KB]
The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL)1, a laboratory in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have undertaken a study to evaluate the long-term field performance and reliability of self-contained self-rescuer (SCSR) units deployed in U.S. underground coal mines in accordance with federal regulation 30 CFR2 § 75.1714. This ongoing project provides performance, reliability, and user maintenance compliance data on field deployed SCSR units. (2017)
PPE CASE – Point-of-Use Assessment for Self-Contained Self-Rescuers Randomly Sampled from Mining Districts: Third Phase
An ongoing Long-Term Field Evaluation (LTFE) study, carried out jointly by the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), a laboratory in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), evaluates the long-term field performance and reliability of self-contained self-rescuer (SCSR) units deployed in U.S. underground coal mines. The LTFE study provides performance, reliability, and user maintenance compliance data on field-deployed SCSR units. (2019)
Self-Contained Self-Rescuer (SCSR) Long-Term Evaluation Tenth Phase Results – RI9675
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2008-138 (June 2008)
This report presents findings regarding laboratory-tested SCSRs in the tenth phase of testing, from July 2004 to March 2006.
Self-Contained Self-Rescuer (SCSR) Long-Term Field Evaluation: Combined Eighth and Ninth Phase Results
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-103 (October 2006)
Over 400 units were evaluated by NPPTL and MSHA from December 2000 until April 2004. This report presents the findings of the laboratory testing.
Self-Contained Self-Rescuers (SCSR)
Dockable, Hybrid Self-Contained-Self-Rescuer for use in Mines under development Cdc-pdf[PDF – 14 KB]
SCSR Interactive Training
Self-Contained Self-Rescuers (SCSR), Inspection, Maintenance, and Use – Interactive Training CourseExternal (MSHA Web site)
Inspection, Maintenance, and Use – Interactive Training Course.
Closed-Circuit Escape Respirator (CCER)
Understanding the Breathing Gas Capacities (ratings) of Escape Respirators for Mineworker Use
Understanding the uses and limitations of the CCER is important in planning for an escape during a mine emergency.
Respiratory Protection for Workers Handling Engineered Nanoparticles Science Blog
Provides an update on the science and rationale behind NIOSH’s recommendations for the use and selection of respirators against engineered nanoparticles.