Safety Articles

Article # 7102

Most Commonly Asked Questions About 42 CFR 84

Issue Date October 10, 1997

On July 10, 1995 a new standard, issued by the National institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and entitled 42 CFR 84, took effect.

This standard establishes new performance criteria for all negative pressure particulate air-purifying respirators and prefilters. These are widely used respirators to help protect workers from hazardous particles generated by operations such as welding, sanding, grinding and chipping.

Currently, particulate respirators are classified by NIOSH as dust/mist, dust/fume/mist, HEPA (high efficiency particulate air), etc. Under the new standard, these classes of respirators are replaced with nine new classes of air-purifying particulate filters. Filters will be classified as P Series, R Series and N Series and each will have three levels of filtering efficiency. 95%, 99% and 99.97%. The N Series is tested with sodium chloride aerosols, and the R and P Series are tested with Dioctyiplithalate (flOP).

While this standard has been established to update the way in which NIOSH tests and certifies respirators, certain aspects of your respiratory protection program, including workplace air sampling, respirator selection, fit testing and training could be affected by 42 CFR 84. A three-year transition period to implement the new standard provides time for you to evaluate how the new standard could affect your respirator program and when to incorporate 42 CFR 84 products into your operations.

You can switch to products covered by 42 CFR 84 at any time during this transition period, depending on your business needs. Meanwhile products covered under the current NIOSH standard, 30 CFR 11, still provide effective respiratory protection and can be purchased and used with confidence.

Magid remains committed to providing you with the most appropriate respiratory protection products and helping you provide worker safety. We are also committed to assisting you during the transition period by providing technical service support, educational materials and training services. Assistance is available from your local sales representative or call our customer service at 1-800-444-8030. Here are the answers to the commonly asked questions about the new standard 42 CFR 84:

Q: Why is NIOSH implementing a new standard?
A: The current standard (30 CFR 11 is based on testing and certification methods and filtration technologies that are more than 20 years old. In addition, there is increased awareness both of new hazards and the presence of respiratory hazards in a greater variety of workplaces. For these reasons, NIOSH has updated respirator testing methods. This standard affects particulate respirators and filters including powered air purifying respirators with dust/mist filters.

Q: How does the standard affect respirators with particulate filters that exist today?
A: Respirators with particulate filters approved for use under the current standard, 30 CFR 11, remain effective and can still be used today. This includes not only particulate respirators but also the particulate prefilters on chemical cartridge respirators. Manufacturers will have until July 10, 1998 to sell particulate air purifying respirators and filters approved under 30 CFR 11.

Q: Does this mean respirators currently in use are not effective?
A: No. The new standard does not mean that existing respirators are inadequate or fail to protect workers. Some existing respirators will be modified, others replaced with products to meet the new testing standard. The new standard will not necessarily create a higher level of protection for workers than is currently being provided using existing respirators.

Q: Does Magid have any workplace protection factor studies that establish the effectiveness of its current respirators?
A: Yes, Magid has received several studies in a variety of workplace settings to examine the level of protection provided currently by respirators under actual use conditions. These workplace protection factor studies validate predictive filtration and face fit data. These studies establish that respirators provide reliable protection when properly selected, fit tested and worn.

Q: Will 42 CFR 84 apply to all manufacturers of particulate respirators sold in the U.S.?
A: Yes. All respirator manufacturers are governed by this new standard. All particulate filtering respirators and prefilters are affected, but only with respect to filtration efficiency. Standards governing other types of respirators, and performance characteristics such as face fit, will be addressed by NIOSH later.

Q: Will all manufacturers’ respirators be affected? What about respirator prefilters?
A: Yes. All particulate air purifying respirators and prefilters will be affected by the new standard, These respirators will gradually be replaced by respirators and prefilters that meet the new test criteria. Many of these respirators will have enhanced features that make them comfortable and easy to breathe through.

Q: What is the full implementation date for this new standard?
A: NIOSH has established a three-year transition period for products to be certified under the new standard. The effective date for the new standard is July 10,1995. Only particulate respirators approved under 42 CFR 84 can be sold by manufacturers after July 10, 1998.

Q: Will the NIOSH standard impact how respirators must be used or the type of respirators that are used in certain applications? Will OSHA make changes in respirator use requirements as a result of the new NIOSH respirator classifications?
A: These issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), rather than NIOSH. OSHA is in the process of revising its respirator use standard 1910.134. Magid will continue to monitor the situation carefully and serve as a resource for respirator information, education and products.

Q: Will this new standard require employee training and fit testing of new respirators? What about workplace air sampling and respirator selection? How can Magid help?
A: Employee training and fit testing of new respirators may be required. Those who manage respiratory protection programs may have to conduct more workplace air sampling and will need to use different respirator selection criteria. Magid and its suppliers can assist in many aspects of respiratory protection programs. Contact your local sales representative, or call Magid directly to discuss the full range of resources available to assist you.

Q: What about inventories of existing respirators? Will distributors be allowed to sell them? Will customers be allowed to use them?
A: OSHA has indicated that respirators approved for use under the current standard, 30 CFR 11, are still effective and can he sold by distributors and used by customers after July 10, 1998 until inventories are depleted.

Q: Under this new standard, will there be respirators for protection against tuberculosis?
A: OSHA requires the use of HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) respirators for use against tuberculosis transmission. Under 42 CFR 84, all nine classes of particulate respirators meet or exceed The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for respirator use in helping to reduce the transmission of tuberculosis. OSHA has indicated in a memorandum dated September 6, 1995 that any of the 9 classes of respirators can be used in TB environments.

Q: When will Magid have respirators to meet the new 42 CFR 84 criteria?
A: Magid is committed to providing the same breadth and variety of lightweight, comfortable and easy-to-breathethrough respirators and filters as we have in the past. Many innovative 42 CPR 84 approved respirators are now available for your use.

If you need additional information contact your local sales representative or contact Magid directly at 1-800-444-8030.