NIOSH Respiratory Protective Device Information - Updated May 18, 2020
"FYI - NIOSH is aware that many different NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) models were stockpiled for prolonged times and are now distributed for use during the COVID-19 response. Recently, NIOSH received multiple inquiries concerning the identification and replacement of damaged straps on large caches of NIOSH-approved N95 FFRs that have since passed their designated shelf life. Modifications to NIOSH-approved respirators should not be made as part of conventional operations. In accordance with the NIOSH regulation, any changes that modify the design (e.g., replacing damaged straps), as approved by NIOSH, voids the NIOSH approval. Only as a contingency or crisis capacity strategy option when no respirators are left other than those with damaged straps, consideration can be given to replacing the damaged straps and using these modified “respirators” as facemasks (i.e., NOT as a NIOSH-approved N95 FFR). The CDC crisis capacity recommendations for prioritizing the use of respirators vs. facemasks by activity type should be followed."
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