The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a nationwide respirator survey through the United States Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The purpose of the survey was to evaluate respirator use and practices to help guide NIOSH respirator certification and research. The survey was mailed in August 2001 to 40,002 establishments representing all of the private sector major industry divisions. Among other information collected on respirator use and practices, the survey included questions on respirator manufacturer user's instructions and NIOSH approval labels. The survey estimated that: 89% of all respirator-using establishments agree that manufacturer user's instructions are clear and easily understood; 90% agree that manufacturer user's instructions are beneficial in the use of respirators; nearly 85% agree that NIOSH approval labels are clear and easily understood; and 80% agree that NIOSH approval labels are beneficial in the use of respirators. These levels of agreement were generally uniform across all private industry. Although the respirator-using establishments generally agree that manufacturer user's instructions and NIOSH approval labels are clear, easily understood, and beneficial, the findings from other questions in the survey indicate apparent widespread inadequacies in the respiratory protection programs offered by establishments. For example, only 15% of establishments using airline respirators reported appropriate use of the air pressure range given on the NIOSH approval label or in the manufacturer user's instructions. Overall, approximately 91 % of establishments requiring respirator use had at least one indicator of a potentially inadequate respiratory protection program, while nearly 54% had at least five indicators of a potentially inadequate respiratory protection program.