Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 07:46:50 -0700
Reply-To: Gordon Miller <miller22**At_Symbol_Here**LLNL.GOV>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Gordon Miller <miller22**At_Symbol_Here**LLNL.GOV>
Subject: Respiratory Protection for Students

The questions about whether students should be treated like workers 
is surprising.

Ralph just said it - liability dictates offering an equivalent 
standard of care. Maybe even better because the parents have 
entrusted their kids to the institution's care.

Students who are under age are going to warrant additional safety and 
health protection as do inexperienced people. Respirators come in 
sizes based on the adult population. They may not fit some underage 

I would be reluctant to rely on N95 filtering facepieces for 
respiratory protection. The controversy about how much protection 
they offer is not yet settled (OSHA set an Applied Protection Factor 
of 10, but the ANSI standard is still pending). Its easy to ignore 
the instructions and pinch fit the mask over the nose or cut a strap. 
Its easy to use a filtering facepiece for a highly toxic material 
like asbestos. Also N95s are particulate removing devices while 
carbon-treated N95s have limited vapor protection capabilities. 
You'll need elastomeric facepieces with properly selected cartridges 
for serious gas/vapor protection. N95s are not a panacea.

Students, like anybody else, need to use respirators that  they are 
able to use and that will work. That means medical qualification 
followed by fit testing followed by being issued properly selected 
respirators that will control exposures to the contaminants of 
interest followed by properly maintaining and servicing them so they 
continue to protect. There's a well-known way to ensure these actions 
are taken and that is to comply with the OSHA standard.

Finally, I can just imagine the facial hair issues that will arise, 
say with adult male students and faculty in a fine arts department!

Ralph had it right when he advised doing air sampling and proving 
masks aren't needed. But follow OSHA if they are.

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.