October 22, 2020

OSHA Addresses Claims That N95s Do Not Protect Against SARS-CoV-2

OSHA has updated its website to address incorrect claims that N95 respirators do not capture particles as small as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The agency stresses that N95 respirators are effective at protecting users from coronavirus exposure when used correctly. A new section on respirators and particle size on OSHA’s COVID-19 frequently asked questions page explains why and how N95 respirators protect wearers from the virus.

According to OSHA, false claims that N95 respirators will not protect against SARS-CoV-2 emphasize the virus’s small size—approximately 0.1 micron. NIOSH tests respirators using particles that simulate a 0.3-micron diameter because this size particle is most likely to pass through the filter. N95 respirators that are worn correctly will filter out at least 95 percent of particles 0.3 micron in size. OSHA states that N95 respirators are more effective at filtering particles that are smaller or larger than 0.3 micron.

“The N95 respirator filter, as is true for other NIOSH-approved respirators, is very effective at protecting people from the virus causing COVID-19,” OSHA states.

Further information and resources from OSHA about COVID-19 are collected on the agency’s website.