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NIOSH Issues First Approval Under Program for Certifying Emergency Responder Respirators

NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
June 3, 2002

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on May 31, 2002, issued its first approval of respirators for occupational use by emergency responders against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents.

NIOSH approved Spiromatic Models 9030, 6630, and 4530, manufactured by Interspiro USA Inc., Branford, Conn. The respirators are self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that provide users with air from a pressurized cylinder or tank carried on the back.

The approval signifies that the products are expected to protect fire fighters and other responders from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear exposures in the line of duty. NIOSH based its determination 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 manufacturer to label the approved devices as NIOSH-certified for occupational use by emergency responders. It does not constitute a commercial endorsement of the products.

NIOSH tested and evaluated the devices under criteria announced in December 2001 for certifying SCBAs for occupational use by first responders against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents. The criteria built on NIOSH’s existing program for certifying respirators for occupational use in traditional workplace settings such as factories, construction sites, and health care facilities. Development of the new program involved broad national support and collaboration by many agencies, organizations, and stakeholders.

NIOSH is continuing to test and evaluate other SCBAs submitted by manufacturers for certification under the new program. It also is developing similar criteria for approving other types of respirators, such as air-purifying devices, for use by emergency responders. The first approval will be posted on the NIOSH web page , and other approvals will be announced and posted as they occur. See “Approval of Self-Contained Breathing Respirators for Emergency Workers in Terrorist Attacks” for more information.

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