September 2022, Volume 14, Issue 3

“NIOSH: Approved Respirators Cannot Be Altered to Improve Fit”

“Concerns regarding statements in the user instructions for several filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) manufactured by NIOSH approval holders prompted the agency to publish a notice stressing that agency-approved respirators cannot be altered to improve fit. According to the notice, NIOSH has identified some statements instructing users to modify FFRs—for example, by tying knots in the headbands to create a tighter fit. The agency cautions users that, in limited instances, some FFRs with instructions containing similar statements were distributed when NIOSH failed to identify the concern before issuing approvals. NIOSH says that it is notifying approval holders to correct their user instructions as issues are identified.”

“NIOSH’s notice reminds those who are required to use respiratory protection in occupational settings that if a user cannot achieve a proper fit, the respirator configuration should not be modified in any way. Instead, another product should be selected for use, the agency says.”

“ ‘All NIOSH-approved respirators and their components should not be modified,’ the notice stresses. ‘Modifications will result in those respirators no longer meeting NIOSH approval requirements and may lead to a reduction or loss of expected protection for the user.’ ’’

Additional details can be found on the website of NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.”

Need respirator use training and fit-testing?

Researchers Describe Welder’s Anthrax, a Newly Identified Occupational Disease

the synergist, August 2022, Newswatch: Bacteria and Viruses, pg. 17

“In an article published this March in the journal Pathogens, researchers from NIOSH and CDC’s Bacterial Special Pathogens Branch highlight seven cases of welder’s anthrax that affected six welders and a metal-worker during 1994-2020. Welder’s anthrax is severe pneumonia in a metalworker caused by Bacillus cereus group bacteria that produce anthrax toxin. In a NIOSH Science Blog post (, the authors of the Pathogens papercharacterize welder’s anthrax as ‘a newly identified, deadly occupational disease.’ …A CDC report published in October at describes B. cereus group bacteria as ‘gram-positive facultative anaerobes, often toxin-producing, that are ubiquitous in the environment and reside naturally in soil and dust.”

CDC Highlights Increase in Mesothelioma Deaths Among Women

the synergist, August 2022, Newswatch: Asbestos, pg. 16

“Mesothelioma deaths among woen increased significantly ove the last 20 years even as asbestos use declined, according to a report published on May 13 in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The report states that the annual number of women who died from malignant mesothelioma increased by approximately 25 percent from 1999, when there were 489 deaths, to 2020, during which 614 deaths were recorded.”

Sign up for our Newsletter