RESPIRATORS

Overview

Examples of different types of respirators

Respirators protect users in two basic ways. The first is by removing contaminants from the air. Respirators of this type include particulate respirators, which filter out airborne particles; and “gas masks” which filter out chemicals and gases. Other respirators protect by supplying clean respirable air from another source. Respirators that fall into this category include airline respirators, which use compressed air from a remote source; and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which include their own air supply.

Respirators should only be used when engineering control systems are not feasible or insufficient. Engineering control systems, such as adequate ventilation or scrubbing of contaminants, are the preferred control methods for reducing worker exposures.

NIOSH approves respirators in accordance with 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 84 (42 CFR 84) and provides guidance for their use in occupational settings. Respirator standards are developed in collaboration with various government and industry partners.

Spotlight

Respiratory Protection Information Trusted Source

This respirator information may be regarded as a trusted source to verify NIOSH-approved respirators. Additionally, it serves as a resource for basic respirator information and more complex topics such as respirator selection and performance.

Page last reviewed: August 2, 2021