increasing free trade leads to easier movement of workers from one country to another.
The committee recognizes the significant investment NIOSH has made in developing the proposed Anthrotech face panel and NIOSH’s limited resources. It is the committee’s opinion that, while there is room for improvement in future NIOSH studies, it would be a disservice to the community of respirator users if the “good” features of the revised panel are abandoned in pursuit of longer-term “better.” The LANL face panel was established in 1972, 34 years ago (Hack et al., 1974). The changing demographics of the respirator workforce requires that NIOSH face panels be more frequently updated. The development of these future panels would be greatly improved if NIOSH assured that the samples included in the panels were representative of workers who should be using respirators, and if NIOSH incorporated and validated three-dimensional measures, and measured quantitative fit.
The proposed NIOSH-sponsored Anthrotech face panel represents an improvement over the LANL face panel, and its application is likely to improve the availability of respirators that fit a broader segment of the workforce. However, the Committee also found that this study could have been greatly improved. In addition, the NIOSH face panels require periodic updates.
Recommendation 5-1: Update the Panel More Often, Using a Scientifically Valid Design.
NIOSH should plan to update the face panel more often to reflect the rapidly changing demographic structure of the U.S. workforce. To do so, it should (1) establish a valid sample of the target population for its respirator certification, (2) assure that the sample that is selected to establish a valid panel is representative of the target population, (3) apply three-dimensional measures to describe the essential fit characteristics of the panel, and (4) rely on