OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Washington, D.C. 20210

Reply to the Attention of:

JAN 24 1991



Office of Field Programs
Directorate of Technical Support
SUBJECT: Use of Non-approved Respirators and Improper Use of Approved Respirators


We have received numerous inquiries concerning the acceptance status of several respirators. Our positions on the following respirators are:

1. The JALYPSO Smoke Particulate Respirator.



This is a non-approved respirator equipped with a particulate filter which claims to be effective in filtering smoke in a fire environment. Since air contaminants such as carbon monoxide, or hydrogen chloride may also be present with the smoke, this particulate filter is not effective for use in a fire environment. Furthermore, since oxygen deficiency often occurs during a fire, an air-purifying respirator does not provide adequate respiratory protection.

Since this respirator is not approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an appropriate citation shall be issued for use of the above noted respirator.

[This document was edited on 03/24/99 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy.]

2. 3M #9908 Dust/Mist Respirator.

This respirator received an approval for protection against dust and mist, TC-21C-233. 3M claims that this respirator provides protection against mercury vapor. We have been informed by NIOSH that the 3M #9908 cannot meet the performance requirements prescribed in [42 CFR 84] for certifying mercury cartridges. NIOSH requires that any approved chemical cartridge for protection against mercury vapor must be equipped with an end-of-service-life indicator, the 3M #9908 does not come equipped with such an indicator. At least three respirator manufacturers have approved mercury cartridges available.

Appropriate citations shall be issued if the 3M #9908 is used for protection against mercury vapor or other air contaminants for which it is not approved.

3. Pro-tech powered Air-Purifying Respirator.

The Pro-tech powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), TC-21C-498, is equipped with a drinking bottle. A hole is drilled through the facepiece to accommodate the drinking tube. However, NIOSH did not perform any test to determine the integrity of the seal on the facepiece when the tubing is subject to movement. Many OSHA health standards such as asbestos or lead prohibit drinking in the regulated area.

Appropriate citations shall be issued if the Pro-tech PAPR with the attached drinking bottle is used in any regulated area.

Please contact us if you need additional information.