March 21, 2019

NIOSH Working to Correct Issue Affecting Testing for Respirator Approvals

A new letter to manufacturers from NIOSH describes an issue affecting gas and vapor testing for NIOSH respirator approvals. According to the letter, the NIOSH Safety Office has placed the Pittsburgh Gas and Vapor Laboratory on a safety stand-down due to fume hood airflow issues. All gas and vapor operations at the laboratory have ceased while NIOSH works to correct the issue.

The letter states that an external calibration service contracted by the agency’s Safety Office determined that flow measurements of all the fume hoods in the Pittsburgh facility were higher than acceptable limits. Facility maintenance personnel attempted to adjust the flows of the fume hoods into an acceptable range and balance the pressure in the labs, but their efforts were unsuccessful. If a release occurred during a test operation, the operators and other building occupants would be at an “unacceptable risk of exposure,” NIOSH’s letter explains.

NIOSH will inform stakeholders when the laboratory becomes operational again.