NIOSH CBRN Respiratory Protection Handbook

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).

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