Be advised that some of these FAQs & Tech Briefs apply to U.S. Regulations, but may be of interest to users in other countries. Outside of the USA, check with all applicable and local government regulations.
- Do Moldex filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) contain cellulose?
- Can I clean my disposable respirator for reuse?
- What is the difference between a surgical mask and a N95 respirator?
- Can a surgical mask help stop small particulates?
- Why are there “Use By/Expiration Dates” on Moldex respiratory protection products?
- Are expired respirators ok to use during COVID-19?
- Will a respirator protect me from the coronavirus?
- Will my respirator still work if I have facial hair?
- Are Masks being prioritized for healthcare workers?
- Can industrial N95 respirators be used in healthcare settings?
- Can valved masks be used in healthcare settings including for protection against the coronavirus?
- What type of guidance with respect to hygienic practices can you provide when performing either qualitative or quantitative fit testing during Covid?
None of Moldex’s filtering facepiece respirators are made with any cellulose products.
Moldex cannot endorse/recommend a decontamination method as Moldex cannot confirm what effect these methods may have on fit and performance of the respirators nor the effect of the decontamination method on the specific virus involved in this current pandemic.
Further, Moldex cannot and does not recommend reuse of any FFR. However, due to the current reported shortages of PPE to protect healthcare workers, we provide this information for consideration. Moldex has reviewed and contributed its expertise to the CDC and FDA guidance on these issues and, in the current severe shortage of N95 respirators, applauds the federal government’s efforts to provide some guidance to attempt to increase the PPE available for the protection of healthcare workers who otherwise would have no respiratory protection at all. For more information on this subject as well as the latest CDC and FDA guidance, please refer to our Reuse of Disposable and Reusable Respirators Tech Brief.
According to the FDA:
A surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment….
While a surgical mask may be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets, a face mask, by design, does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures. Surgical masks also do not provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants because of the loose fit between the surface of the face mask and your face.
A N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and a very efficient filtration of airborne particles. You can read more about the differences between these two face masks by visiting this FDA page.
Surgical or medical masks have not met all the standards that an N95 or higher respirator have. Surgical masks also are not intended to provide a tight fitting seal on the users faces. Instead, most of the time, these masks are designed to reduce/prevent the transmission of bodily fluids to the wearer and thus not suited for stopping the transmission of small particulates. Generally speaking, surgical masks are not intended to protect the wearer from contamination from small particles, they are intended to protect the surgical field from contamination from the wearer.
All Moldex® respiratory protection products have “Use By” or “Expiration Dates” on them. These dates are placed on the product packaging as they are manufactured. This is intended to assist our customers who use and sell our products to deplete older inventory first and to protect users where the performance of the product may have been affected by unknown storage conditions. The “Use By” dates have been determined by our testing of retained samples which provide the basis of our “Use By” determinations.
Certain respirators past their expiration date that are listed in the current EUA are now authorized for use “if stockpiled generally in accordance with the manufacturer-recommended storage condition and distributed under conditions of this EUA.”
NIOSH has tested certain models of Moldex respirators which have been stored in the Strategic National Stockpile and the CDC has provided use guidance for healthcare workers.
For more information on the use of expired Moldex respirators, please refer to our Respirator Shelf Life, Continued Use, Expiration Dating and Exceptions Tech Brief.
The CDC has provided guidance on the use of PPE and recommends the use of a fit-tested NIOSH-approved N95 or higher level respirator for healthcare personnel. While no form of respiratory protection will eliminate the transmission of viruses such as COVID-19, a N95 respirator, properly fitted and used, will help.
You can read more about CDC guidance and respirator use in our General Coronavirus Tech Brief.
No. Tight-fitting facepiece respirators which include filtering facepieces made by Moldex® must not be worn by individuals who have facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face. Respirators that do not rely on a tight face seal, such as hoods or helmets, may be used by bearded individuals. Always refer to your employer’s respiratory
protection program policy.
Additional Information can be found at this OSHA link.
While Moldex can’t mandate what our distributors do, we have encouraged our distributors to prioritize respirators for first responders, healthcare workers, and critical health infrastructure.
Yes. Per the U.S. government’s recent Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for COVID-19, industrial N95 respirators are now available for use in healthcare settings other than surgery or settings in which there is any likelihood of blood or bodily fluid spray or streams.
These new EUAs allow the available N95 supply to be prioritized for such healthcare use. The filtration efficiencies and general performance characteristics of N95s for healthcare and industrial uses are identical, despite a fluid resistance capability present in the FDA cleared respirators and not the industrial N95s
Yes, but only in certain situations where the exhaled breath of the wearer is not a potential risk to the persons the wearer is near. Valve masks only protect the wearer. They do not protect those people that are in proximity to the person wearing the respirator. This is because the exhalation valve not only allows one to exhale air, but will allow droplets/aerosols generated from coughing, sneezing and talking to pass through the exhalation valve.
Respirators that have exhalation valves have been designed for the comfort of the wearer. The exhalation valve lowers the exhalation breathing resistance by allowing exhaled air to exit the respirator through the valve. A properly fitted and worn valved respirator protects the wearer from particles entering the wearer’s breathing zone, but does not protect people other than the wearer. This is because the exhalation valve will not only allow exhaled air through the valve, but will also allow droplet/aerosols generated from coughing, sneezing and talking to pass through the exhalation valve.
Certainly, a valved respirator should NOT be worn by anyone who has been infected with the coronavirus or may be an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus if that person will be in any proximity to others.
You should consult the latest governmental guidelines, which include but may not be limited to the following Agencies and incorporate protocols that meet your Respiratory Protection Program, Safety & Heath Program and/or your Infectious Disease Program for your facility.
USA: OSHA, NIOSH, EPA and CDC along with any other State/local regulations
CANADA: CCOHS along with any Province/local regulations
Additional resources from Fit-Testing Equipment Manufactures
TSI – Phone: 800-680-1220, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for the Official Response to questions related to use of the Portacount Respirator Fit Tester during a Pathogenic Outbreak
Allegro Industries – Phone: 800-622-3530, email: email@example.com
Click here to view the Product Bulletin Recommended Protocol for P/N 2040 & 2041, Fit Testing Hygiene During Covid-19 Pandemic
EPA List of EPA Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
1910.134 App A – https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134AppA
Canada CCOHS: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/prevention/ppe/respslct.html?=undefined&wbdisable=true
In addition, you should consider the following:
- Negative Covid test result (within 24 hours of testing) prior to fit testing for both the person performing the fit testing along with the person being fit-tested.
- Have multiple sets of equipment such as extra solutions for quantitative fit testing (sensitivity and fit-test), fit-test hoods, nebulizers along with additional PPE for the person conducting the fit-test, respiratory protection, eye protection and gloves and extra-probed cartridge kits for Moldex Quantitative fit testing for reusable respirators for each person being tested.
- Clean and sanitize equipment after each use (Monitor/inspect equipment before each use) in accordance with your company’s infectious
control guidelines, and/or other federal/state guidelines.
- Dispose of solutions after each test.