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General Cautions and Limitations

These limitations are by no means all inclusive. The respirator manufacturer may also identify further cautions and limitations for their respirators. In addition, regulatory agencies may also place a limit on the use of respirators in their standards.

See approval label for specific approval information and limitations.

13F - Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

14G - Gas Masks

19C - Supplied Air Respirators

21C - Particulate Respirators (Part 11)

23C - Chemical Cartridges

84A - Non-powered Air-Purifying Particulate Filter Respirators


Coal Mine Dust Personal Sampler Units (CMDPSU)


Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR)

Approval (13F):

13F - Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus
Entry Into and Escape Class
Approved for respiratory protection during entry into or escape from oxygen-deficient atmospheres, gases and vapors
Escape Only Class
Approved for respiratory protection during escape only from oxygen-deficient atmospheres, gases and vapors
Combination Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and Supplied-Air Respirator Class (demand and pressure demand)
Approved for respiratory protection during entry into and escape from oxygen-deficient atmospheres, gases and vapors, when using air-line air supply. If the self-contained breathing apparatus is to be used during entry, the SCBA must be classified for 15 minutes or longer service time and not more than 20 percent of the rated capacity of the air supply is used during entry


General Limitations - All SCBA:

  • Use only for temperatures above the temperature listed on the approval label.
  • Approved only when compressed air reservoir is fully charged with air meeting the requirements of the Compressed Gas Association specification G-7.1 for Type 1, Grade D air, or equivalent specifications.
  • The air container shall meet applicable DOT specifications.
  • Use adequate skin protection when worn in gases or vapors that poison by skin absorption.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • This respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.


Recommendation - SCBA with Breathing Gas Cylinders:

NIOSH recommends that SCBA be inspected weekly if stored and immediately before use if used regularly, for breathing gas pressure.


Additional Limitations - Closed Circuit:

  • If compressed air supply is used: Approved only when air reservoir is fully charged with air meeting the requirements of the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) Specification G-7.1 for Type 1, Grade D air, or equivalent specifications.
  • If compressed oxygen or liquid oxygen is used: Approved for use only when the cylinder or container is charged with compressed oxygen or liquid oxygen meeting U.S.P. specifications.
  • If enriched air is used: Approved for use only when the cylinder or container is charged with compressed gas meeting the requirements listed in Federal Register Vol. 20, No. 222, November 18, 1985. Oxygen in the facepiece shall not exceed 30 percent by volume under normal temperature and pressure conditions.
  • If liquefied breathing air is used: Must meet both Type I gaseous air and Type II liquefied air specifications (1966 edition of CGA G-7.1).
  • The oxygen container shall meet applicable DOT specifications.
  • Provide proper care, training, and maintenance of the apparatus as specifically described in the manufacturer's instruction and maintenance manuals.
  • After each use of each apparatus, a fully charged breathing gas container and a recharge of carbon dioxide scrubber shall be installed.
  • Thorough cleaning and disinfecting of facepiece, breathing tube, and breathing bag must be done in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.


Special Limitations:

13F - Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus
Open circuit pressure demand
Negative pressure mode shall be used only when donning apparatus.
Closed circuit pressure demand
Do not use this apparatus where there is direct exposure to open flames or in high radiant heat. (This limitation applies to 100 percent oxygen apparatus only.)
Open circuit (pressure demand, demand, or continuous flow)
OSHA regulations require that escape respirators be inspected monthly.
Closed circuit
OSHA regulations require that escape respirators be inspected monthly. MSHA regulations require that self-rescuers that are carried be inspected daily.
Combination Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and Supplied-Air Respirators (demand and pressure demand)
Use only the hose lengths and pressure ranges specified on the approval label. If the supplied air fails, open cylinder valve and proceed to fresh air immediately.

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General Limitations - All Gas Masks (14G):

  • Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • Refer to approval label, and instruction and maintenance manuals, for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Approval may include protection against particulates and multiple gases and vapors. The type of additional approval is listed in the approval record under the approval number.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for changing canisters.
  • Do not wear for protection against gases or vapors with poor warning properties or those which generate high heats of reaction with sorbent materials in the canister.
  • Respirators shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

Pesticides:

  • Refer to pesticide label for limitations on respirator use.

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Approval (19C):

19C - Supplied-Air Respirators
Type A Approved for respiratory protection against atmospheres not immediately dangerous to life or health.
Type B
Type C - Continuous Flow Respirator only approved when used with respirable air.
Type C - Pressure Demand
Type C - Demand
Type CE - Abrasive Blasting Approved for abrasive blasting and respiratory protection against atmospheres not immediately dangerous to life or health. Respirator only approved with used with respirable air.

 

Limitations - Type A:

  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • Use only the hose lengths, RPM, or pressure ranges specified on the approval label.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for fitting the facepiece, for location of the blower, for preventing entanglement and fouling of the hose, or operation of the blower and for caring of the respirator while in use.
  • The respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

 

Limitations - Type B:

  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • Use only the hose lengths specified on the approval label.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval be maintained.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for locating the intake of the air supply hose.
  • The respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

 

Limitations - Type C (Continuous Flow, Pressure Demand, Demand):

  • Use only the hose lengths and pressure ranges specified on the approval label.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • The respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

 

 Limitations - Type CE (Abrasive Blasting):

  • Use only the hose lengths and pressure ranges specified on the approval label.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • The respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

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Approval (21C):

21C - Particulate Respirators (Part 11)
Single Use Approved for respiratory protection against pneumoconiosis- and fibrosis- producing dusts and mists.
Dusts Approved for respiratory protection against dusts having an exposure limit measured as a time weighted average not less than 0.05 milligram per cubic meter or 2 million particles per cubic foot.
Dusts and Mists Approved for respiratory protection against dusts and mists having an exposure limit measured as a time weighted average not less than 0.05 milligram per cubic meter or 2 million particles per cubic foot.
Dusts, Fumes and Mists Approved for respiratory protection against dusts, fumes and mists having an exposure limit measured as a time weighted average not less than 0.05 milligram per cubic meter or 2 million particles per cubic foot.
High-efficiency Approved for respiratory protection against dusts, fumes and mists having an exposure limit measured as a time weighted average less than 0.05 milligram per cubic meter and radionuclides.
Radon Daughters Approved for respiratory protection against radon daughters, and radon daughters attached to dust, fumes and mists.
Asbestos Approved for respiratory protection against asbestos-containing dusts and mists

 

Limitations - Single Use (21C):

  • Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for changing filters.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • The respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

 

Limitations - Dusts, Dusts and Mists, and Dusts, Fumes and Mists (21C):

  • Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for changing filters.
  • The respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

 

Limitations - High-efficiency (21C):

  • Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for changing filters and replacing respirators.
  • The respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

 

Additional Limitations - Combination Type C Supplied-Air Respirator with escape high-efficiency respirator:

  • Use only the hose lengths and pressure ranges specified on the approval label.
  • When airflow is cut off, switch to filter and immediately exit to clean air.

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Approval (23C):

23C - Chemical Cartridges
See approval labels for approved maximum use concentration and for specific limitations.
Hydrogen Chloride Approved for respiratory protection against not more than 50 parts per million hydrogen chloride.
Paints, Lacquers and Enamels Approved for respiratory protection against (1) mists of paints, lacquers and enamels and (2) organic vapors

 

General Limitations - All Chemical Cartridges:

  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • Do not exceed maximum use concentrations established by regulatory standards.
  • Air-line respirators can be used only when the respirators are supplied with respirable air meeting the requirements of CGA G-7.1 Grade D or higher quality.
  • Use only the pressure ranges and hose lengths specified in the User's Instructions.
  • Do not use powered air-purifying respirators if airflow is less than four cfm (115 lpm) for tight-fitting facepieces or six cfm (170 lpm) for hoods and/or helmets.
  • If airflow is cut off, switch to filter and/or cartridge and immediately exit to clean air.
  • Do not wear for protection against organic vapors with poor warning properties or those which generate high heats of reaction with sorbent.
  • Contains electrical parts which have not been evaluated as an ignition source in flammable or explosive atmospheres by MSHA/NIOSH.
  • Failure to properly use and maintain this product could result in injury or death.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require gas-proof goggles to be worn with this respirator when used against formaldehyde.
  • Follow the manufacturer's User's Instructions for changing cartridges and/or filters.
  • All approved respirators shall be selected, fitted, used, and maintained in accordance with MSHA, OSHA, and other applicable regulations.
  • Never substitute, modify, add, or omit parts. Use only exact replacement parts in the configuration as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Refer to User's Instructions, and/or maintenance manuals, for information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • Special or critical User's Instructions and/or specific use limitations apply. Refer to User's Instructions for donning.

Special Limitations:

23C - Chemical Cartridges
Organic Vapor Do not wear for protection against organic vapors with poor warning properties or those that generate high heats of reaction with sorbent.
Paints, Lacquers and Enamels
Pesticides Do not wear for protection against organic vapors with poor warning properties or those that generate high heats of reaction with sorbent.

Not approved for fumigants.

Refer to pesticide label for limitations on respirator use.

Other Gases and Vapors (including Mercury) The respirator should be carefully fitted to the wearer's face before use, in accordance with the manufacturer's facepiece fitting instructions.

End of Service Life indicator.

 

Vinyl Chloride:

  • Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for changing sorbent element.
  • The respirator shall be carefully fitted to the wearer's face before use, in accordance with the manufacturer's facepiece fitting instructions.
  • The respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.
  • End of Service Life indicator.

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Approval (84A):

84A - Non-Powered Air-Purifying Particulate Filter Respirators
N95 Particulate Filter (95% filter efficiency level) effective against particulate aerosols free of oil; time use restrictions may apply.*   **
R95 Particulate Filter (95% filter efficiency level) effective against all particulate aerosols; time use restrictions may apply.*   ***
P95 Particulate Filter (95% filter efficiency level) effective against all particulate aerosols.*
N99 Particulate Filter (99% filter efficiency level) effective against particulate aerosols free of oil; time use restrictions may apply.*   **
R99 Particulate Filter (99% filter efficiency level) effective against all particulate aerosols; time use restrictions may apply.*   ***
P99 Particulate Filter (99% filter efficiency level) effective against all particulate aerosols.*
N100 Particulate Filter (99.9% filter efficiency level) effective against particulate aerosols free of oil; time use restrictions may apply.*   **
R100 Particulate Filter (99.9% filter efficiency level) effective against all particulate aerosols; time use restrictions may apply.*   ***
P100 Particulate Filter (99.9% filter efficiency level) effective against all particulate aerosols.*

 

* Limited by consideration of hygiene, damage, and breathing resistance
** High (200 mg) filter loading in the certification test is intended to address the potential for filter efficiency degradation by solid or water-based (i.e., non-oil) aerosols in the workplace. Accordingly, there is no recommended service time limit in most workplace settings. However, in dirty workplaces (high aerosol concentrations) service time should only be extended beyond 8 hours of use (continuous or intermittent) by performing an evaluation in specific workplace settings that demonstrates (a) that extended use will not degrade the filter efficiency below the certified efficiency level, or (b) that the total mass loading of the filter is less than 200 mg (100 mg per filter for dual-filter respirators).
*** No specific service time when oils are not present. In the presence of oil aerosols, service time may be extended beyond 8 hours of use (continuous or intermittent) by demonstrating (a) that extended use will not degrade the filter efficiency below the certified efficiency level, or (b) that the total mass loading of the filter is less than 200 mg (100 mg per filter for dual-filter respirators).
NIOSH will be conducting and encouraging other researchers to conduct studies to assure that these service time recommendations are adequate. If research indicates the need, additional service time recommendations may be recommended by NIOSH for specific workplace conditions.

 

General Limitations - All Part 84A Approvals:

A Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
B Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health.
C Do not exceed maximum use concentrations established by regulatory standards.
D Air-line respirators can be used only when the respirators are supplied with respirable air meeting the requirements of CGA G-7.1 Grade D or higher quality
E Use only the pressure ranges and hose lengths specified in the User's Instructions.
G If airflow is cut off, switch to filter and/or cartridge and immediately exit to clean air.
H Do not wear for protection against organic vapors with poor warning properties or those which generate high heats of reaction with sorbent.
I Contains electrical parts which have not been evaluated as an ignition source in flammable or explosive atmospheres by MSHA/NIOSH.
J Failure to properly use and maintain this product could result in injury or death.
K The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require gas-proof goggles to be worn with this respirator when used against formaldehyde.
L Follow the manufacturer's User's Instructions for changing cartridges and/or filters.
M All approved respirators shall be selected, fitted, used, and maintained in accordance with MSHA, OSHA, and other applicable regulations.
N Never substitute, modify, add or omit parts. Use only exact replacement parts in the configuration as specified by the manufacturer.
O Refer to User's Instructions, and/or maintenance manuals for information on use and maintenance of these respirators.
P NIOSH does not evaluate respirators for use as surgical masks.
S Special or critical User's Instructions and/or specific use limitations apply. Refer to User's Instructions before donning.

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Coal Mine Dust Personal Sampler Units (CMDPSU):

A coal mine dust personal sampler unit (CMDPSU) consists of a pump, charger, and a sampling head with a 10 mm nylon cyclone and a preweighed sealed filter cassette. It is used - as a unit - for collecting the mandatory coal mine atmosphere samples as required under Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The sampling requirements are detailed in Title 30, Part 70 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

All certified CMDPSU's must have prior approval by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor, to meet the 2G-2239 electrical permissibility requirements. The performance of the CMDPSU's is certified by NIOSH under Title 30, Part 74 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

 

General Limitations - Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR)

For respirators approved under 30 CFR Part 11 & 42 CFR Part 84:

  • Not evaluated as an ignition source in flammable or explosive atmospheres by MSHA/NIOSH.
  • Not for use in atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.
  • Not for use in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • Tight-fitting facepiece: Do not use if airflow is less than four cubic feet per minute.
  • Loose-fitting facepiece: Do not use if airflow is less than six cubic feet per minute.
  • In making renewals and repairs, parts identical with those furnished by the manufacturer under the pertinent approval shall be maintained.
  • Refer to approval label and instruction and maintenance manuals for additional information on use and maintenance of the respirators.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for changing filters, cartridges, and/or canisters.
  • This respirator shall be selected, fitted, used and maintained in accordance with Mine Safety and Health Administration and other applicable regulations.

For respirators approved under 30 CFR Part 18:

  • Not evaluated as an ignition source in flammable or explosive atmospheres by MSHA/NIOSH, except evaluated under Part 18 for use in methane air atmosphere.

 

Additional limitations under 42 CFR Part 84:

  • Do not use powered air-purifying respirators if airflow is less than four cfm (115 lpm) for tight-fitting facepieces or six cfm (170 lpm) for hoods and/or helmets.
  • Contains electrical parts which have not been evaluated as an ignition source in flammable or explosive atmospheres by MSHA/NIOSH.

 

 
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