Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2011 13:19:21 -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: "Geraci, Charles L. (Chuck) (CDC/NIOSH/EID)" <ciu9**At_Symbol_Here**CDC.GOV>
Subject: Re: Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?
In-Reply-To: <008b01cbbd03$87bdb720$ed4ff743**At_Symbol_Here**ZavonHP>


Dear DCHAS members:

The NIOSH Science Blog did a nice job of providing background information on the question, so I am forwarding the link.

N9 5 Respirators and Surgical Masks.


Chuck Geraci

C harles L. Geraci, Jr.,  Ph.D., CIH
C oordinator, Nanotechnology Research Center
N ational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
4 676 Columbia Parkway
C incinnati, OH  45226
5 13-533-8339

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Peter Zavon
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 9:49 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

Tr ue, in general, surgical masks are not respirators - but there are some surgical masks that have also been qualified as NIOSH Certified Respirators. Using those would bring you, at least, into the voluntary use provisions.


Th e real question is, why does the toxicology group want to order surgical masks.  If they are performing animal surgery and want them as part of an effort to maintain a sterile surgical field, fine. The OSHA respirator requirement would not come in unless there is some hazardous material or pathogenic agent from which they need protection.  However, if they think they are using them as a way of dealing with dust or chemicals in their own work environment, that is another matter.  Then it would seem that they are, at the least, at the level of voluntary respirator use and OSHA Appendix D, and probably need an assessment performed to determine whether there is a need for a real respirator.


Peter Zavon, CIH
Penfield, NY


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Wright, Mike
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 5:35 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?

Su rgical masks are not respirators, and offer very little protection against fine particulate. Their main purpose is to protect the patient from sneezes and coughs by the operating room personnel, not to protect the wearer from toxic substances. You should only choose respirators which are NIOSH-certified for the particular use.


Mi chael J. Wright

Di rector of Health, Safety and Environment

Un ited Steelworkers

(4 12) 562-2580 work

(4 12) 370-0105 cell

(4 12) 562-2584 fax



From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Jim Tung
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 11:02 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Do surgical masks = 'respirators'?



I have an associated question to Bradley's that shows my lack of knowledge: what is/are the respiratory regulatory issues surrounding the operation of a grinder/mill, specifically one that can generate over 1 kilogram of material?


Thanks in advance, Jim

On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 8:53 AM, Norwood, Brad <Brad.Norwood**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:



As an analytical laboratory, we operate under the Laboratory Standard 1910.1450 of the OSHA regulations.  We have excellent engineering controls, 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, and 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 basis 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 pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece 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 surgical 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 of 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?


<sigh> ;




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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