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Deterioration of stockpiled N95 respirators, surgical gowns: NIOSH requesting info

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Washington – NIOSH is seeking information from facilities that stockpile N95 respirators and high-level protective surgical gowns as part of a research study that will examine how storage conditions affect the deterioration of personal protective equipment.

“Stockpiling PPE is a costly endeavor that includes PPE purchase, storage space, product rotation over time, and environmental controls for heat, humidity, dust, and sunlight,” states a Request for Information published in the March 24 Federal Register. “Resource limitations may lead facilities to stockpile PPE in environments that do not meet manufacturer storage recommendations or exceed shelf life, increasing the potential for PPE degradation.

“Even when resources exist to store PPE per manufacturer’s environmental recommendations, the influence of long-term storage time alone on PPE performance has been questioned.”

NIOSH is asking for information on the following:

  • Type of stockpile and end users of stockpiled product
  • Degree to which environmental controls are implemented and maintained
  • How facilities monitor respirator and gown deterioration
  • Where applicable, how facilities rotate PPE
  • Where applicable, how information on distributors’ storage practices is gathered
  • Which types of controls are available in the shipping environment
  • Brands, models and other estimated numbers for inventory information

The deadline to submit information is April 23.

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