August 3, 2023

NIOSH Webinar to Discuss Routine Use of Elastomeric Respirators in Healthcare

A webinar to be hosted by NIOSH next week will focus on the findings of a study that aimed to determine the feasibility and practicability of the routine use of reusable elastomeric respirators in healthcare delivery settings in the United States. Researchers examined the logistics of reusable respirators in hospital settings as well as users’ ease of job performance while wearing them. As part of the study, healthcare personnel were trained to use one method of disinfection, and researchers assessed users’ preferences and comfort wearing elastomeric respirators. The study was contracted and completed by Wayne State University, Emory University, and the University of Texas.

Individuals scheduled to speak during the webinar include Caitlin McClain, MS, GSP, an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow within NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) Research Branch, and Colleen Kraft, MD, MSc, a clinically trained infectious diseases physician and medical microbiologist with Emory University. Much of McClain’s research at NIOSH has focused on understanding the use and best practices of elastomeric half-mask respirators in the workplace, and Kraft’s research involves healthcare innovation, human factors, and healthcare personnel safety. Additional speakers include Lisa Pompeii, PhD, who is a professor at the University of Texas and the director of patient services research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and industrial hygienist and epidemiologist Youcheng Liu, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at Wayne State University. Pompeii has led studies focused on OSHA’s respiratory protection standard as well as on the use of elastomeric respirators in healthcare, and Liu has conducted respiratory protection research in boilermakers, auto body shop spray painters and repair workers, healthcare workers, and isocyanate fabric-coating workers.

The two-hour webinar will begin at 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Aug. 8. Further details are available from the website of NIOSH’s NPPTL.

Related:Reusable Respirators for Healthcare Use,” an article published in the November 2021 issue of The Synergist, discussed advancements in elastomeric respirator technology.