Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) respiratory protection handbook
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Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) respiratory protection handbook

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  • Alternative Title:
    Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear respiratory protection handbook;CBRN;
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    "Since 2001, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established performance and design standards for respiratory protective devices (RPDs) to protect against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) hazards and toxic industrial chemicals. Prior to 2001, there were no standards for the use of RPDs by U.S. emergency response personnel that covered the full range of expected CBRN threats. Federal regulations require emergency response personnel to use respirators approved by NIOSH for the expected hazards. Equipment performance standards were needed to protect against CBRN threats. Neither industrial nor military respirators provided protection from all potential CBRN respiratory hazards. Several federal agencies partnered to provide research and testing to produce the necessary standards: Department of Justice (DOJ); Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOMa); Department of Commerce (DOC), National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST); and the Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The NIOSH RPD approval standards and tests developed for CBRN protections are highly specialized. The advanced CBRN respirators have unique characteristics related to selection, use, and maintenance compared to NIOSH-approved industrial respirators. Due to the enhanced protection afforded by NIOSH-approved CBRN respirators, it is likely that the respirators will also be used in industrial applications. Nationally prominent organizations have identified the need for advice and training on CBRN respirators. Among these are the RAND Corporation, Science and Technology Policy Institute, and the Federal InterAgency Board (IAB) for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability. Responders in several RAND studies clearly expressed the need for guidelines related to personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators [Bartis et al. 2005; Jackson et al. 2002; Jackson et al. 2004; LaTourrette et al. 2003; Willis et al. 2006]. As early as 2002, RAND reported: One of the clear messages of the conference (December 10, 2001) was that most emergency workers do not believe that they are prepared with the necessary information, training, and equipment to cope with many of the challenges associated with the response to a major disaster such as the World Trade Center attack or for threats associated with anthrax, and similar agents [Jackson et al. 2002]. Another RAND study indicated: In sum, community representatives stressed that a greater amount of training and education must be part of any policy to improve the protection of emergency responders in the line of duty [LaTourrette et al. 2003]. An IAB annual report also underscored the need for guidance: The emergency responder community has a need for guidance and information on the selection, use, and maintenance of CBRN respirators to ultimately reduce incidences of respiratory related injury for nearly 4 million career and volunteer corrections, emergency medical services, firefighting, and law enforcement responders [IAB 2009]. This handbook fills the critical need for authoritative technical information on CBRN RPDs. The information presented will assist any user of CBRN respirators to improve selection, use, and maintenance, but it is particularly useful to those individuals responsible for administering respirator protection programs or developing training programs. The handbook is intended for organizations that use CBRN respirators in emergency response applications (e.g., fire service, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and corrections officers). It does not include information on how to conduct response activities. Others who use CBRN respirators in industrial, public works, construction, utility, and other non-emergency applications will also benefit from the information presented. The information in the following chapters can be used to develop a more effective CBRN respiratory protection program and establish effective training programs in support of other requirements such as relevant National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and OSHA standards. Relevant NFPA standards include NFPA 472 (Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/ Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents) and NFPA 473 (Standard for Competencies for EMS Personnel Responding to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents). Relevant OSHA and EPA standards include Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.134 (Respiratory Protection) and 1910.120 (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response), and Title 40 CFR Chapter 1, Part 311 (Worker Protection)." - NIOSHTIC-2

    NIOSHTIC no. 20052066

    Suggested citation: NIOSH [2018]. CBRN respiratory protection handbook. By Janssen L, Johnson AT, Johnson JS, Mansdorf SZ, Medici OR, Metzler RW, Rehak TR, Szalajda JV. Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2018-166,

  • Content Notes:
    Appendix A: CBRN Respirator Standards -- Appendix B: OSHA CBRN Fit Testing Interpretation Letter -- Appendix C: Respiratory Protection Program Samples
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