Effectiveness of N95s not a problem after prolonged storage

OSHA Healthcare Connection, February 10, 2009

Unlike fine wine, disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators don't get better with age, and unlike cheap wines, they don't get any worse, either.

With many organizations stockpiling N95s for use during influenza pandemic, NIOSH wanted to examine the effect of prolonged storage of 21 different certified respirator models.

The respirators chosen had been in the original packaging for at least six years in research laboratories and warehouse facilities. Storage temperature ranged from 15 degrees C to 32 degrees C and humidity varied from 20% to 80%.

The results of the study appeared in the January American Journal of Infection Control and indicated that respirators stored up to ten years will have the same protective value as new equipment.

HCPro's "Respirator Safety for Healthcare Workers" training video instructs on respiratory protection training and provides preparedness checklists. Download a sample supply checklist for pandemic planning from the Tools page of the OSHA Healthcare Advisor.

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