Respirators Still a Hot Item
Respirators, Things You Need to Know! 02-01-2020
Surgeon’s Masks, increasingly common to see, are not designed to protect the Surgeon or other Wearer from Inhaled Pathogens. They are designed to prevent the surgeon from Breathing Directly onto the Patient, to prevent Sneezes and Coughs from being dispersed directly onto the Patient, and to Prevent the Surgeon from Inadvertently Touching his/her Mouth and/or Nose.
Disposable Filtering Facepiece Respirators, the ones in the news referred to as N-95, purportedly will protect the Wearer from inhaling Pathogens via the Nose or Mouth, will prevent the Wearer from Breathing On a Patient Directly (See Note #1) can be used on a Patient known to be Positive for a Pathogen (See Note #2) to prevent them from spreading the pathogen by normal breathing, coughing, or sneezing, and in all cases, will Prevent the Wearer from Touching his/her Mouth and/or Nose.
#1. Exhaust Valve Equipped Disposable Filtering Facepiece Respirators must not be worn by Hospital Staff in Sterile Environments (such as an Operating Room), or around Immunocompromised Patients as any pathogens in the breath, cough, or sneeze, of the Wearer can compromise the Sterile Environment or Immunocompromised Patient.
#2. Exhaust Valve Equipped Disposable Filtering Facepiece Respirators must not be worn by Infected Patients as the Pathogen passes out of the Respirator Facepiece via the Valve without being entangled by the Facepiece Material.
N, R, P – What does it mean?
Not Oil Resistant – (Some oils reduce the effectiveness of the filter, Do Not Use in Applications that will Expose the Filter to Oil Products, such as Aerosols or similar).
Resistant to Oil – (Must be changed after 8 Hours if Exposed to Oil Products, such as Aerosols or similar, otherwise change them as often as N Series Filters).
Oil Proof – (Can continued to be used Indefinitely, regardless of Exposure to Oil Products, such as Aerosols or similar, except as specified below. One online source made this claim: NIOSH recommended disposal after 40 hours or 30 days of use).
In General, for all Particulate Filters, Replacement needs to occur due to Contamination, Wear, Damage, Creases, Increase in Breathing Resistance making breathing more difficult, etc., except with respect to Oil Aerosols which are discussed immediately above.
In Addition, the Numbers of 95, 99, and 99.97 (written as 100 for the name of such items). This is the effectiveness of the Respirator in Removing a Percentage of Particles according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Examples, other combinations exist:
N-95 Remove 95% of Specific Sized Particles and is Not Oil Resistant.
R-99 Removes 99% of Specific Sized Particles and is Oil Resistant.
P-100 removes 99.97% of Specific Sized Particles and is Oil Proof.
The Above Filter Designations apply as well to Filters, Filter Cartridges, and Combination Filter/Chemical Cartridges used for ½ Face and Full Face Air Purifying Respirators.
In Combination Filter/Chemical Cartridges, the replacement may be dictated by the frequency required to change the Chemical Cartridge.
The OSHA Benzene Standard says this of Cartridge Change Frequency – For air-purifying respirators, the employer must replace the air-purifying element at the expiration of its service life or at the beginning of each shift in which such elements are used, whichever comes first – so for Benzene Exposures, they will need to be changed that often.
But if the Combination Cartridge is just being used for Particulate Exposures, the Cartridge will be changed as if it were only a Particulate Cartridge, following the: In General, for all Particulate Filters Section above.
This first site has this to add:
Oil and fat-based particulates are very small and “slippery”, for lack of a better term. They are often capable of penetrating filters that non-oil particulates cannot, even when those particulates are small. These include everything from certain hazardous chemicals to viruses like SARS, which has a lipid (fat) shell around it.
Yet, from NIOSH (Apparently a Subset of the CDC), they have this to say:
Respirator Fact Sheet: Understanding Respiratory Protection Against SARS
*The SARS virus has a “shell” composed of lipids, which are fats and oils. However, the amount of fat and oil in these tiny virus particles is extremely low and is not enough to affect the filter in the N-series respirator. Thus the N-series respirators such as N-95 will protect against SARS exposure.
Can health care workers use respirators other than N-95 to protect against SARS?
Yes, workers can wear any of the types of particulate respirators for protection against SARS—if they are NIOSH-approved and if they have been properly fit-tested and maintained. All of the NIOSH-approved particulate respirators protect workers against SARS as effectively as the N-95 respirators.
The above NIOSH link demonstrates that though the SARS Virus has Fats/Oils associated with its shell, an N-95 Respirator is suitable as are the other 8 types.
N-95, R-95, P-95
N-99, R-99, P-99
N-100, R-100, P-100
Bi-Lingual Presentation Follows:
The Link Immediately Above is from the CDC, before following their Recommendations on Decontamination that in any way involves the Filtering Elements, Consult the Manufacturer. In my humble opinion, the CDC is delinquent in pushing for all American’s to wear mouth coverings without explaining that, in regard to preventing a Pathogen from Entering the Mouth or Nose, that the Surgical Mask or Improvised Mouth Covering may not be any, or much protection, for the wearer, from exposure to the virus, but may be of some help in preventing others from becoming infected by the person wearing it. In addition, wearing the correct respirator properly still leaves the eyes vulnerable to transmitting the infection to the sinuses, and possibly into the respiratory tract from there, as the fluid around the eyes drains into the sinuses. Telling us to wear respirators but not eye protection, like all the government workers wear, is just grossly negligent and assumes most Americans are too stupid to understand the process of infection.
Here’s 3M’s comments on Decontamination of their Products:
Filters and Cartridges 3M does not recommend cleaning or disinfection of filter media (e.g., disc-style filters and pre-filter pads). However, some 3M filter products have a hard-plastic case surrounding the filter media, i.e., NIOSH part numbers 7093, 7093C and 6092X as well as EN (European) part numbers 603X and 609X. This hard case can be cleaned by wiping the outside surface with a damp cloth soaked in disinfecting solution until visibly wet for the appropriate contact time and then removing the disinfecting solution with a clean, water-soaked cloth and air drying. Do not allow the disinfecting solution to reach the internal filter media and do not submerge the hard-case filters in the disinfecting solution or water. Utilize the same disinfection solutions as recommended for 3M facepieces.
Lastly, for today, I want to mention Counterfeit Respiratory Protection Products. These are serious times, and with Industrial Exposures to Counterfeit Products, since one is not to wear an Air Purifying Respirator in an area where the atmosphere is Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH), or to wear it for unknown exposures, or known exposures above the Assigned Protection Factor of the Respirator Style, leakage by poorly designed products may take years to show up in Industrial Related Diseases (Lung Disease, Cancer, etc.), but with this current virus situation, it can have very quick and profound effects on the person that believed they were protecting their health unknowingly using a product that is but a mere counterfeit of a well designed product.
Frankly, I’m aghast that U.S. Politicians and U.S. Govt Agencies have not assertively addressed this problem long ago.
This site has some useful information, I’d read it carefully, and verify what they said, but I’ve seen nothing wrong with it and wanted to include it because it is relevant to the current virus, not SARS like and earlier reference, from official channels, was. But stick to U.S. or European Manufactured and Accredited Products, at this time, I think the Counterfeit Link from the CDC/NIOSH Makes its point without me detailing it.