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Recall of Certain 3M Breathe Easy™ PAPR Cartridges

NIOSH Respirator User Notice

Issue Date: September 25, 2001

From: Richard W. Metzler, Acting Director, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory

Subject: Recall of Certain 3M Breathe Easy™ PAPR Cartridges

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH or the Institute) wishes to inform respirator users that the 3M Company is voluntarily recalling certain chemical cartridges used in the Breathe Easy™ powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) product line. The 3M Company has determined that certain chemical cartridges may not meet one of the performance requirements outlined in Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 84. While these cartridges will still provide protection against the contaminants for which they were certified, under hot and humid conditions, the service life against these gases and vapors may be reduced.

Title 42, CFR, Part 84 outlines performance criteria for chemical cartridges that include gas specific service life testing under three different test conditions. Service life testing is conducted on chemical cartridges that have been equilibrated at 25% and 85% relative humidity for 6 hours and also with no equilibration. The 3M Company has determined through internal audits of their products that certain Breathe Easy™ chemical cartridges might not meet the minimum service life requirements after being treated with air of 85% relative humidity for 6 hours.

Therefore, the 3M Company is voluntarily recalling the following Breathe Easy™ PAPR cartridges manufactured before August 23, 2001:

  • 456-00-01R06 – OV Cartridge (A)
  • 453-00-01R06 – OV/HE Cartridge (AP3)
  • 456-03-01R06 – OV/CL/HC/SD Cartridge (AE)
  • 453-03-01R06 – OV/CL/HC/SD/HE (AEP3)

Each cartridge is printed with an expiration date on the back. Cartridges with expiration dates before 8/2006 are affected.

Several 3M PAPR systems use chemical cartridges affected by this recall. These systems include model numbers: 260-09-01RA01, 260-09-14RA01, 260-10-21LRA01, 260-10-21RA01, 260-10-23RA01, and 260-10-23A01.

Users of these PAPR systems who have questions concerning this issue should contact the 3M Company directly at 1-800-328-1667 or at their website ( The 3M Company also maintains a hotline for Technical Questions at 1-800-243-4630.

Questions may also be directed to the Respirator Branch of NIOSH by calling 304-285-5907.