Respirator Trusted-Source Information
Section 3: Ancillary Respirator Information
OSHA provides guidance on using mathematical modelsExternal to predict the service life of organic vapor respirator cartridges when used for protection against single contaminants. You can also find the service lives for respirator cartridgesExternal intended to protect against selected gases already calculated in a table. You can calculate others using a computer program called Advisor GeniusExternal. OSHA suggests that you reduce the service life estimate by some safety factor and document the change schedule in your written respiratory program.
OSHA has no accepted way to determine a cartridge’s service life when exposed to mixtures; computer models have been developed that can estimate service life if you know all the canister physical attributes, environmental factors, contaminants and levels, and work rates [Note: Other research has been conducted to develop models for contaminant mixtures, but they have not yet been adopted by OSHA]. NIOSH has developed a computer tool for estimating breakthrough times and service livesof air-purifying respirator cartridges manufactured to remove toxic organic vapors from breathed air that can be used with the cartridge/canister manufacturer’s recommendations for multi-gas use of the specific canister/cartridge being used.
If respirators are required in your workplace, OSHA mandates that your employer establish and maintain a respiratory protection program that must describe the information and data relied upon and the basis for the canister and cartridge change schedule. Because of the complexity of factors involved in determining canister changeout schedules, consult your Respirator Program Administrator.
The cartridge can’t be decontaminated (i.e., reconditioned for reuse). The filter media in the cartridge has a finite capacity and the mechanism used to remove the contaminants from the air is usually not reversible.
- Frequency of use (e.g., continuously, intermittently) throughout the shift
- Wearer’s work rate
- The presence of potentially interfering chemicals
At this time, neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor the World Health Organization (WHO) have provided any recommendations for cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting respirators used for novel H1N1 virus exposures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires respirator users to follow either the respirator manufacturer’s instructions or OSHA’s general procedures for cleaning respirators in 29 CFR 1910.134 Appendix B-2; however, OSHA’s procedures are not specific for novel H1N1 virus and may not lead to disinfection.
Refer to the User Instructions for the specific PAPR unit and headgear to identify the components that can be cleaned.