Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2011 07:25:04 -0800
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
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From: "Holland, Duv**At_Symbol_Here**CDCR" <Duv.Holland**At_Symbol_Here**CDCR.CA.GOV>
Subject: Re: Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?
In-Reply-To: <9375A4B942930D458099C4FB6E0874A893DF14C780**At_Symbol_Here**>

To be considered a respirator, it needs to be NIOS H certified.  The most common filtering facepiece type is an N95.
The flimsy little dust masks that hardware stores often sell (not NIOSH certified, though a hardwa re or home repair store might sell N95 filtering facepiece respirators as well) a nd surgical masks are not considered respirators.< /DIV>
Also, it is my understanding that the purpose of a surgical mask is to particulates *in* that could cause infectious disease t o others (wearing potentially already infected and surgical mask worn to prot ect others) while the purpose of a filtering facepiece respirator is to keep airborne particulate contaminants *out* (keep them from entering the body o f the wearer).  I'm not medical, so I could have this wrong, but I thought t his was their respective purposes.

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Norwood, Brad
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 6:54 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

As an analytical laboratory, we operate under the Laboratory Standard 1910.1450 of the OSHA regulations.  We have excellent engineering cont rols, and have done monitoring for the the atmosphere contaminants that would be of concern.  We don’t meet the OSHA threshold for any of those.
That being said, we sometimes have to grind samples in knife mills, an d this can generate some dust (though still well below the threshold).  Per 1910.134 Appendix D ( table=STANDARDS&p_id=9784) we conduct and document training to ensure that our employees have a firm b asis upon which to choose a dust mask appropriate to their task and comfort.
Now, my toxicology group wants to order surgical masks, and since 1910 .134 defines a “respirator” as:
Filtering facepiece (dust mask) means a negative pressur e particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece < U>or with the entire facepiece composed of the filtering medium (emphasis added).
In light of the above definition, I am forced to ask:  is a surgi cal mask considered a ‘respirator’?  Do I now need to document a) that there is no condition which requires use of a respirator/surgical mask/form o f protection in the toxicology section and b) that if not, all of the toxicologists are also trained in accordance with Appendix D to 1910.134?
Dr. Bradley K. Norwood
Laboratory Director
Arista Laboratories
1941 Reymet Road
Richmond, VA  23237
(804) 271-5572 ext. 307
(804) 641-4641 (cell)
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