Air-purifying respirators (APRs) remove gases, vapors, aerosols (droplets and solid particles), or a combination of contaminants from the air using filters, cartridges, or canisters. APRs do not supply oxygen and therefore cannot be used in an atmosphere that is oxygen deficient or immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH). The appropriate APR type should be selected based on environmental contaminants.
Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) are reusable battery-powered devices that use a blower to provide clean, breathable air to the wearer. They include replaceable filters or cartridges appropriate for the intended environment. PAPRs are equipped with tight-fitting, half- or full-facepieces, loose-fitting facepieces, hoods, or helmets. PAPRs with loose-fitting facepieces do not require fit testing and can be worn by workers with facial hair. Fit testing by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is required for PAPRs with tight-fitting facepieces.
Full-face respirators and half-mask respirators are reusable, NIOSH-rated air-purifying devices that protect the respiratory tract from exposure to harmful substances, including dust, fog, fumes, mist, smoke, sprays, vapors, gases, and particulates. Full-face respirators feature a flexible seal that ensures a secure fit around the full perimeter of the face. Half-mask respirators fit over the nose and mouth but do not protect the eyes or upper part of the face. Because the effectiveness of full-face and half-mask respirators relies on a tight seal to the user’s face, (OSHA) requires fit testing for these devices.
Particulate filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) are NIOSH-approved and for limited use. They are equipped with two straps and made with a multilayered, non-woven polypropylene, and are available with or without an exhalation valve. All NIOSH-approved particulate FFRs are classified by a two-part system to indicate the filter’s functionality. Letter designations of N, R, and P refer to oil resistance. Number designations refer to the minimum filter efficiency level. Because the effectiveness of FFRs relies on a tight seal to the user’s face, OSHA requires fit testing for these respirators.
Additional details including regulatory compliance information can be obtained at the individual product level.