NIOSH seeking partners for project to redesign PAPR for health care workers

July 10, 2019

Washington — NIOSH is looking for inventors, researchers and respirator manufacturers to partner on a project intended to develop new designs for powered air-purifying respirators for health care workers.

According to a notice published in the July 1 Federal Register, the project stems from a series of National Academy of Medicine reports issued between 2008 and 2015 and at a 2014 workshop – all commissioned at NIOSH’s request. Citing various national public health outbreaks over the past two decades, the reports explore the next steps toward improved respiratory protection for health care workers.


NIOSH is requesting feedback as the agency’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory works to create consensus recommendations for PAPR design. Should they be implemented, the recommendations would provide guidelines to determine whether respirators:

  • Perform their intended functions effectively and safely.
  • Support health care worker activities – not interfere with them.
  • Are comfortable and tolerable.
  • Support health care system policies and practices.

“This project seeks to improve respirator tolerability, comfort and other functional characteristics while maintaining a level of protection equivalent to or greater than current standards,” the notice states. “The design changes contemplated in this project could increase compliance with respiratory protection guidelines and standards among health care workers.”

Letters of intent must be submitted by July 31.