Friday, September 05, 2014

September 5 is N95 Day - Whaaaaaat??

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) today September 5 is N95 Day.  NIOSH says, "N95 Day is a time to recognize the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace and familiarize yourself with the resources available to help you make educated decisions when selecting and wearing a respirator."  To celebrate, NIOSH will be providing N95 filtering facepiece respirator information through social media channels such as a Twitter chat, a webinar, and new infographics.  For more information visit there website at:  http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/N95Day.html.


Interesting thing to us is why celebrate the N95 filtering facepiece respirators?  Filtering facepiece respirators have their place in protecting workers from respiratory hazards, however, that place is very limited.  This type of respirator cannot and should not be used for respirable dusts like asbestos or lead.  Nor should it be used for vapors or mists or gases.  As the picture above from Ground Zero - 9/11 World Trade Center rescue, recovery and cleanup shows, knowing which respirator to wear was one of the problems for the workers who worked there.  The picture shows workers wearing filtering facepiece respirators and half mask air purifying respirators.  Considering the contaminants (asbestos, mercury, PCBs, to name a few) at the site, filtering facepiece respirators should not have been a choice at all.  This is probably the main reason to have an N95 day is to make sure people understand the limitations of this type of respirator.  But why limit it to filtering facepiece respirators, we should be celebrating all respirators!  So for our part we say Happy Respirator Day!

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