February 22, 2024

Updated NIOSH Standard Testing Procedure Applies to PAPR HE and PAPR100 Classes

NIOSH has combined and updated two standard testing procedures related to determining fit for powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) with loose- or tight-fitting respiratory inlet coverings. The updated procedure, Determination of Respirator Fit, Quantitatively Using Corn Oil Aerosol, for Powered Air-Purifying Respirators with Loose- or Tight-Fitting Respiratory Inlet Coverings, Standard Testing Procedure, replaces CVB-APR-STP-0009 and CVB-APR-STP-0010, Determination of Facepiece Fit, which NIOSH says are now obsolete. The purpose of the document is to establish the procedure by which a generated corn oil aerosol is used for determining if PAPRs submitted to NIOSH for approval or extension of approval as well as PAPRs examined during product audits meet minimum certification standards.

According to the website of NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), the updated standard testing procedure applies to both PAPR HE and PAPR100 respirator classes. PAPRs with high-efficiency filters, which NIOSH designates as PAPR class HE, are often used in high-hazard procedures in healthcare settings. To achieve NIOSH approval for PAPR class HE, a device must pass a silica dust loading test. Aerosol tests replace the silica dust test for the PAPR100 class of respirator, which NIOSH created via an interim final rule published in April 2020. The agency intended this change to allow for smaller, lighter designs for PAPRs.

A PDF copy of the updated procedure, dated Feb. 12, is available from NIOSH’s website. More information on standard respirator testing procedures is available from NPPTL.