Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2011 11:53:44 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: 5 Re: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

From: kauletta**At_Symbol_Here**< /a>
Date: January 25, 2011 10:07:02 AM EST
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

Surgical masks are NOT considered respirators for OSHA purposes. An OSHA respirator will have a "TC" approval number. No TC# means it is not a respirator. This also means that the single strap dust masks without a TC number are not respirators and can be worn without being part of the respiratory protection program. 

Kim Auletta
Lab Safety Specialist
EH&S    Z=6200
Stony Brook University
kauletta**At_Symbol_Here**< /a>
FAX: 631-632-9683
EH&S Web site: lab/

Remember to wash your hands! 

From: bill parks <misterbill21225**At_Symbol_Here**> ;
Date: January 25, 2011 10:33:52 AM EST
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

You need to keep in mind all portions of the standard. Respirators have to be keep in sanitary condition, capable of being cleaned, adequately fitted, reliable, and dependable. Disposable "dust masks" don't seem to qualify.
I strongly encourage my clients to not use dust masks, but to use P100 filters with the respirator - halfface, fullface,PAPR - that keeps their employees protected to less than the PEL for the substance (s) in question.

Bill Parks

**Providing sound Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health and Safety, Environmental Health & IAQ, Environmental Science, and Laboratory support services and solutions for nearly 30 years**

From: Randy Norman <rnormanusa**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: January 25, 2011 10:13:46 AM EST
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

Definitely not. Surgical masks are used to protect the "patient" - to keep the wearer from drooling or expelling massive amounts of aerosolized respiratory secretion directly into the patient's surgical wound.
They also will prevent direct contact of splashed or spattered liquids with the wearer's face and thus OSHA may allow them to be used for that purpose, but they provide essentially zero protection to the wearer from respiratory hazards and are not ANY form of respiratory protection whatsoever.

Randal O. Norman

From: "Brady Arnold" <barnold**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: January 25, 2011 11:08:18 AM EST
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

I actually had the same question several years ago. We use surgical masks to avoid direct splash contamination when working on livers.
After reading a lot of opinions that could be interperted both ways, I called the regional OSHA office. Their answer was no, surgical masks are not respirators. Part of the answer was that surgical masks don=92t seal tightly over the face; therefore they don=92t require medical oversight to ensure sufficient lung capacity.
Brady P. Arnold
Engineer III / Safety Officer
XenoTech LLC
phone (913) 227-7143
fax      (913) 227-7199
< div style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; font: normal normal normal 12px/normal Helvetica; min-height: 14px; ">
From: <mansdorfz**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: January 25, 2011 10:17:14 AM EST
To: "'DCHAS-L Discussion List'" <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

Wow.  Surgical masks are not respirators and do not have a NIOSH approval or certification.  You might need a nuisance dust mask (disposable) for this operation or in no case should you allow surgical masks to be used.  As a final note=85=85=85=85..the surgical masks are designed to protect the patient from the surgeon and not the user.
S. Z. Mansdorf, PhD, CIH, CSP, QEP
Consultant in EHS and Sustainability
7184 Via Palomar
Boca Raton, FL  33433

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.