NIOSH Issues First Two Air-Purifying Escape Respirator Approvals Under Program for Certifying CBRN Respirators

October 31, 2005
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued the first two certificates of approval for air-purifying escape respirators (APER) with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protection. Approval was granted on Oct. 24, 2005, to Mine Safety Appliances Company for the Safe Escape CBRN APER and on Oct. 28, 2005, to ILC Dover for the SCape CBRN APER. These respirators are air-purifying devices which use a chemical cartridge combined with a particulate filter to purify contaminated air.

The approvals signify that the products are expected to protect the general working population in escape scenarios from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear exposures that could be seen at a terrorist event. NIOSH based its determinations on positive results from rigorous laboratory tests, evaluation of product specifications for the devices, and assessment of the manufacturer’s quality control procedures.

The action allows the manufacturers to label the approved devices as NIOSH-certified for occupational use. It does not constitute a commercial endorsement of the product.

NIOSH tested and evaluated the devices under criteria announced in October 2003 for certifying escape respirators for use by the general working population against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents. The CBRN criteria built on NIOSH’s existing program for certifying respirators for occupational use in traditional workplace settings such as factories, construction sites, and healthcare facilities. Development of the escape respirator program involved broad national support and collaboration by many agencies, organizations, and stakeholders.

NIOSH is continuing to test and evaluate other escape respirators submitted by manufacturers for certification under this program. It also is developing similar criteria for approving other types of respirators, such as powered, air-purifying devices, for use by emergency responders. The approvals are posted on the NIOSH web page at Other approvals will be announced and posted as they occur.

For further information on the certification program, contact toll-free 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674), or visit the NIOSH web page.

Page last reviewed: July 22, 2015