In March, NIOSH published a new fact sheet (PDF) on assessing the shelf lives of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). Although the agency does not currently require providers of approved FFRs to designate shelf lives for their products, a recent NIOSH study has “noted numerous challenges that the PPE community experiences when trying to locate FFR shelf life information,” the fact sheet states.
According to the fact sheet, respiratory protection program (RPP) and stockpile managers may not be certain whether a product can be used when information about shelf life is absent or difficult to find. NIOSH recommends that users contact the approval holder to inquire about the equipment’s shelf life. Users will first need to identify the FFR’s approval, model or part, and lot numbers, which may be found on respirator units, packaging, or approval labels.
The fact sheet is part of a series titled “Personal Protective Equipment Conformity Assessment Studies and Evaluations Notes” or “PPE CASE Notes,” which aims to inform respirator users about common themes or trends identified by NIOSH through processes related to agency-approved respirators. Follow this link to view and download the fact sheet: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2023-128/2023-128.pdf?id=10.26616/NIOSHPUB2023128