NIOSH PAPR Difference?

NIOSH PAPR100 Vs PAPR HE : What is the Difference?

The coronavirus continues to cause heavy and rapid changes to the healthcare industry since it caused a pandemic and changed the world in 2019.

Staff in hospitals were put at very high risk to exposure of viral contaminants as they worked closely alongside patients affected by the highly contagious virus. Their lives were put in danger, which led to respirators becoming one of the most vital and potentially life-saving devices in hospitals on a global scale to ensure the safety of healthcare workers.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, also referred to as NIOSH, is a research agency that prioritizes the health of the U.S. workforce population. The agency is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s health protection agency. As part of the CDC, NIOSH holds the responsibility for the safety of staff through conducting the appropriate research necessary to create a healthy and safe working environment.

The data collected by NIOSH is of the highest quality and the knowledge is ensured to be put into practice when considering healthy working conditions. The agency partners with governments, industry, workers, and so on, to guarantee that the utmost work is done to accomplish their goals. One of the seven strategic goals is to minimize work-related respiratory diseases. The Powered Air Purifying Respirator, or PAPR, works towards this goal by filtering the air from any hazardous contaminants. These battery-operated devices have been designated into different classes by NIOSH, in accordance with their function and ability. NIOSH also hold the responsibility for approving all respirators for use in OSHA-regulated environments.

Class HE PAPRs are efficiently designed to remove harmful particulates in the air through filtration. These particulates include chemicals, bloodborne diseases, and airborne pathogenic microbes. This class of PAPR is now commonly equipped in high-risk procedures in the healthcare environment to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

PAPR HE was established in 19721, with the original intent of being used in the mining and milling industry to secure the safety of its workers. For the PAPR HE class approval, the device is expected to pass a silica dust loading test. The respirator is equipped with batteries and fans to accomplish this, which therefore increases the weight and size of the device for most designs. These conventional air-hose/belt-mounted-blower-unit designs are an inconvenience when used in healthcare, preventing the widespread application of PAPR HE devices in the industry.

Since the coronavirus took the world by storm in 2019, the need for respirators has become more apparent in hospitals. The highly contagious viral disease spreads via droplets as well as airborne particulates that circulate in the air. To protect healthcare staff from being infected and to reduce risk, the respirators in hospitals must be of high quality and efficiency. However, since most PAPR HE designs resulted in a heavy device, making it a nuisance when used in hospitals, NIOSH launched a novel class: PAPR1002.

The new class of PAPR100 devices must pass aerosol tests, rather than the standard silica dust test. These aerosol tests include the dioctyl phthalate aerosol and the sodium chloride aerosol test. This change allows for the devices to be built with a more compact design, becoming much more convenient as it allows the product design to be smaller and more light weight, all while providing the same amount of shielding as the existing PAPR HE respirators. The PAPR100 suits the industry’s needs much more efficiently.

In recent news, NIOSH awarded the first permanent PAPR100-N approval to the MAXAIR CAPR® PR System. MAXAIR CAPR Systems provide the highest level of safety, while also prioritizing individualized comfort and convenience. CAPR was brought to market in 2010 as an advanced integrated PAPR design that eliminates the need for an air-hose and belt-mounted blower unit. This compact design makes CAPR Systems capable of approval in either PAPR Class, and they are highly suitable for hospital staff to use on a regular occurrence and for long periods of time. With a MAXAIR CAPR, healthcare workers are both safe and comfortable while working closely with infectious patients without fear and risk, bringing the world one step closer to eradicating the virus.

MAXAIR® is the leading light for PAPRs catered to various industries, including hospitals, laboratories, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. MAXAIR products tap into a wide extent of major markets where there are risks of hazardous particulates in the air, and are a preferred configuration for hospital environments. The Southern California-based company for MAXAIR has more than 19 years of experience in designing innovative devices of the highest quality that provide optimum safety.

To learn more about how MAXAIR CAPRs can provide help in your industry, visit

1 For additional historical perspective, please refer to

2 For detailed information on the NIOSH Standard Respirator Testing Procedures As Related to the Interim Final Rule Published on Approval Tests and Standards for Air-Purifying Particulate Respirators, Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR) Tests, please refer to Testing results can be found here on the CDC website

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