The FDA has authorized the emergency use of certain filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) for use in health care settings by health care personnel (HCP) in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations to prevent HCP exposure to pathogenic biological airborne particulates during FFR shortages resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.
In accordance with CDC Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators, this flowchart and the information below provide links to information to consider when selecting respirators for use in health care facilities in the United States.
The FDA, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), continues to evaluate respirator performance.
What to use: In early April, 2021, CDC updated that the supply and availability of NIOSH-approved respirators have increased significantly and health care facilities should not be using crisis capacity strategies at this time and should promptly resume conventional practices. As such, you should be using National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Approved Air Purifying Respirators that are FDA-cleared or authorized under the EUA. These include disposable filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) (such as N95s) and reusable respirators such as elastomeric and powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs)).
- How to identify a respirator to use: Search the NIOSH certified equipment list (CEL) that shows both disposable and reusable air purifying respirators of different types from different manufacturers. Use the shortcut links below to search for specific types of respirators.
- Search for non-powered air purifiers (such as N95 or elastomeric).
- Search for powered air purifying respirators (such as PAPRs).
- Review the CEL list to choose a particular manufacturer or to do a unique search. As a reminder, non-powered general respirators can be found under Schedule 84A and the powered air purifying respirators are found under Schedule 21C.
- Before selecting a respirator, review the NIOSH Counterfeit Respirators list to identify if NIOSH-approval has been misrepresented.