Concept for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Capable Powered, Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR)


April 1 , 2005

1. Purpose

The purpose of this standard is to specify minimum requirements to determine the effectiveness of a WMD Capable, Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) used as entry devices in atmospheres with low concentrations of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) contaminants not immediately dangerous to life and health. The respirator must meet the minimum requirements identified in the following paragraphs:

  • Paragraph 3.0 Requirements specified in Title 42 CFR, Part 84 applicable paragraphs
  • Paragraph 4.0 Special Requirements for CBRN
  • Paragraph 5.0, Special Requirements for Quality Assurance
  • Paragraph 6.0, General Requirements
  • Paragraph 7.0, Requirements for Cautions and Limitations

In response to acts of terrorism and other natural disasters, powered air purifying respirators are used to provide respiratory protection in work areas where the hazards are known, characterized, and conditions of oxygen deficiency do not exist. The WMD Capable PAPR will most likely be used by first receivers and others in atmospheres where the levels of CBRN contamination will be at low concentrations due to prior victim decontamination, minimal secondary contamination emitted from ambulatory victims or because of the extreme distance from the event. Respirators used under these conditions must be sufficient to provide protection against these anticipated low-level respiratory hazards. The WMD Capable PAPR should not be used in traditional first responder activities (fire service or law enforcement service; emergency medical technicians) and should not be used for escape purposes.

This concept addresses major performance issues of flow, hazard protection, filter capacity, particulate efficiency, and human factors. The concept addresses each of these respirator issues with performance-based requirements. The WMD Capable PAPR concept specifies requirements for breathing performance based on the ability of the respirator to maintain a positive pressure in the breathing zone.

Filter hazard protection and capacity for the WMD Capable PAPR concept provides for a minimum required performance consisting of: 99.97 percent particulate efficiency and gas life defined in the existing CBRN respirator standards.

Canister capacity and particulate efficiency testing is done at flow rates determined by the maximum flow rate of the respirator. In addition to flow, canister capacity, work rate, and particulate efficiency requirements, the WMD Capable PAPR concept also addresses CBRN required performance for live agent testing (LAT) for sarin (GB) and mustard (HD) and a laboratory respirator protection level (LRPL) test. Enhanced performance requirements for respirator field of view (FOV), communications, and battery performance are identified in the WMD Capable PAPR concept.

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Page last reviewed: April 14, 2005