Posted June 10, 2020

MSA asks industry professionals to request reusable elastomeric respirators be added to the Strategic National Stockpile

Reusable elastomeric respirators are not currently in the government's plan for rebuilding the stockpile; an oversight which should be corrected. 

The following is an appeal from MSA to industry professionals to voice your support for adding reusable elastomeric respirators to the Strategic National Stockpile.

Friends of MSA,

We are reaching out to you, our friends within the first responder community, to ask for help with an important matter.

As you are well aware, first responders and healthcare workers have faced a severe shortage of single-use disposable masks during the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore have been forced to take extraordinary steps to stretch supplies, including reusing single-use masks multiple times. At the same time, there are respiratory protection products designed for reuse and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and CDC-recommended for use against COVID-19 in healthcare settings.

One reusable elastomeric respirator can do the work of hundreds, if not thousands, of disposable N95 masks. Because they can be cleaned and reused, they occupy a fraction of the storage space, are economical, and address a vital need for our nation’s healthcare professionals. And because they can be paired with interchangeable cartridges for use against a wide array of hazards, they will provide our country with critically needed flexibility in future public health emergencies, disasters, or terrorist attacks which may present different hazards.

Plans are underway to replenish the federal government's Strategic National Stockpile with critical equipment and other supplies, but reusable elastomeric respirators are not yet on the list of supplies to be included in the stockpile. In addition to other important types of personal protective equipment, I believe that the federal stockpile should include a mix of disposable N95s and reusable elastomeric respirators, which provide equal or higher levels of protection. Having access to a broad array of respiratory protection options can only benefit healthcare workers and first responders. We also believe that it will help federal decision makers to hear directly from front-line healthcare workers, first responders, researchers, and others.

This is a time-sensitive request, because federal decision-makers are deliberating as we speak. That's why we're asking you to take a moment to quickly send them a message. Click here to tell the Department of Health and Human Services that as it rebuilds the Strategic National Stockpile, please provide healthcare workers with a broad array of respiratory protection – including reusable elastomeric respirators.

For more information about these issues, here is a recently published New York Times article that explains these issues in more detail: They Evoke Darth Vader, but These Masks May Save Your Doctor’s Life.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this request. We hope you will join us in taking action by sending a message to HHS.

Click here to add your voice to the call.