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N95, FFP2 respirators

By Precious Matarutse | 01 Dec, 2010 Last edited by Sophie Beauvais on 17 Dec 2010

How long can you use N95 or FFP2 respirators from 3M?



Chipo Takawira Replied at 8:26 AM, 1 Dec 2010

In a previous discussion it was mentioned that "as long as they are structurally intact" i.e. looking at the filter facepiece ensuring that its a tight fit without any leaks. The fitness of the mask will also depend on how its stored so that its not crushed. Depending on how often its used I think it can be reused for between a week and a month (I don't think one should exceed a month because by the end of 4 weeks the mask will be get dirty). The most important thing is how well it fits and taking good care of it.

I don't know what others think?

S. Mehtar Replied at 8:42 AM, 1 Dec 2010

I agree- although Kimberley Clarke was livid that I published that in my book!!!

Prof Shaheen Mehtar
MBBS, FRC Path (UK), FCPath (Micro) (SA), MD (Lon)
Head of Academic Unit for Infection Prevention and Control
Tygerberg Hospital & Stellenbosch Uni
PO Box 19063,
Tygerberg 7505, Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 938 5051
Fax: + 27 21 938 5065
Mobile: +27 82 852 3697
Infection Prevention and Control Africa Network
Visit website: www.ipcan.co.za. for information on
3rd IPCAN Conference, Namibia- 29th Oct-2nd Nov 2011
 followed by the WHO SIGN meeting 3rd-5th Nov, 2011

Grigory Volchenkov, MD Moderator Replied at 8:43 AM, 1 Dec 2010

I fully agree with Chipo Takawira: this approach to disposable respirators is absolutely in line both with CDC recommendations and with our experience in Vladimir, Russia.
 Dr. Grigory V. Volchenkov

Head Doctor
Vladimir Oblast TB Dispansery

Sudogodskoe shosse, 63
Vladimir 600023 RUSSIA

phone/fax work: +7(4922)323265
mobile +7 920 625 3227; +7 919 018 9226

Sophie Beauvais Replied at 1:05 PM, 1 Dec 2010

You might also be interested in these pieces of information:

Discussion brief: Using particulate respirators for TB Infection Control

Face masks and fit testing presentations from the Harvard Airborne IC course: http://www.ghdonline.org/get/search/?q=fit+testing&N=0+52+1001583

Also this discussion http://www.ghdonline.org/ic/discussion/how-much-better-is-respirator-fit-test... and discussion brief
http://www.ghdonline.org/ic/discussion/how-much-better-is-respirator-fit-test... on respirator fit testing

Best, Sophie

Roland Berry Ann Replied at 10:41 AM, 2 Dec 2010

Since the FFP2 is not a NIOSH approval designation, I can only respond regarding the CDC/NIOSH recommendations for the extended or repeated wearing of the NIOSH approved N95 respirators.

During the recent H1N1 pandemic influenza outbreak, NIOSH developed the Respirator Trusted-Source Information Page on the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) web page. This page can be referenced as an authoritative source for the answer to your question on the extended or repeated wearing (re-use) of N95 respirators. The information that I believe you seek is copied below, and can be found within Section 3: Ancillary Respirator Information, of the Respirator Trusted-Source Information Page at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/RespSource3.html#m.

The N95 [filtering facepiece] respirator should be discarded when it becomes damaged or deformed; no longer forms an effective seal to the face; becomes wet or visibly dirty; breathing through it becomes more difficult; or if it becomes contaminated with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions, or other bodily fluids from patients.

How long can you wear the same N95 respirator?
The current NIOSH service-time-limit recommendations for non-powered particulate filter respirators are that filter elements should be replaced at the following frequencies:
• The service life of all filters on NIOSH-approved respirators is limited by considerations of hygiene, damage, and breathing resistance. All filters should be replaced whenever they are damaged, soiled, or causing noticeably increased breathing resistance.
• N-series filters generally should be used and reused subject only to considerations of hygiene, damage, and increased breathing resistance. However, for dirty workplaces that could result in high filter loading (i.e., 200 mg), service time for N-series filters should only be extended beyond 8 hours of use (continuous or intermittent) by performing an evaluation in specific workplace settings that demonstrates: (a) that extended use will not degrade the filter efficiency below the efficiency level specified in 42 CFR 84, or (b) that the total mass loading of the filter(s) is less than 200 mg. These determinations would need to be repeated whenever conditions change or modifications are made to processes that could change the type of particulate generated in the user's facility.
For healthcare applications where use is for protection against confirmed or suspected 2009 H1N1 influenza, please refer to: Interim Guidance on Infection Control Measures for 2009 H1N1 Influenza in Healthcare Settings, Including Protection of Healthcare Personnel.

Best Regards,
Roland Berry Ann
Deputy Director, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL)

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