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Time to Transition from Decontaminated Disposable Respirators

Posted: April 15, 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a transition away from crisis capacity conservation strategies implemented during COVID-19.

The FDA recommended on April 9 that health care personnel and facilities transition away from crisis capacity conservation strategies, such as decontaminating disposable respirators for reuse. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has updated its Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators to clarify how surge capacity strategies should now be applied.

Emergency medical services personnel are impacted by these recommendations.

The FDA recommends that you:

  • Limit decontamination of disposable respirators.
  • Transition away from a crisis capacity strategy for respirators, such as decontamination of N95 and other filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs).
  • Increase inventory of available NIOSH-approved respirators.

Even if you are unable to obtain the respirator model that you would prefer, the FDA recommends that you obtain and use a new respirator before decontaminating or bioburden reducing a preferred disposable respirator.

If you have questions about respirators or decontamination systems, contact the FDA's Division of Industry and Consumer Education (DICE). DICE develops educational resources to help the medical device industry understand FDA regulations and policies.

This article is based on content in the
April 15, 2021 InfoGram.

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