PPE Industry Applauds Rep. Summer Lee for Efforts to Help American Workers Breath Better

Rep. Lee has requested additional funding for federal respiratory protection research and policy.

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) applauds U.S. Rep. Summer Lee’s (D-PA) effort to add funding and capacity to the National Personal Protective Technologies Lab (NPPTL), a vital division of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), that tests, certifies and researches the types of respiratory protection that 50 million working Americans use each day.

Rep. Lee submitted a request in the annual congressional appropriations process for a program increase of $4 million for the NIOSH Respirator Approval Program (RAP), including brand protection, and related respiratory protection research. This funding is crucial to address the escalating demand for respiratory protection expertise and services, especially amidst the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic.

The proposed increase in funding will also support essential research activities, including:

  • the “Respirator Fit Evaluation Challenge” to allow members of the public and those without a respirator program at work to ensure respirators fit appropriately

  • the development of a “Mobile Facial Scanning App” that will tell a worker which one of the respirators in the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile, used in public health emergencies, will fit the best

  • a “Train-the-Trainer Fit Test Framework” pilot program, where firehouses provide respirator fit-testing

  • implementing long-overdue enhancements to NPPTL operations, including updates to the online application portal, creating a new system for automatic updates to the NIOSH Certified Equipment List, and additional staffing.

These initiatives aim to revolutionize respirator technology and enhance user experience, particularly in crisis situations like pandemics or wildfires.

“The safety and well-being of our nation’s workforce are paramount,” said Cam Mackey, ISEA President & CEO. “By investing in respiratory protection research and approval programs, we can ensure that workers across all sectors have access to the most advanced and effective protective equipment.”

About ISEA
The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is the trade association for technologies that keep workers safe. Its member companies, united in the goal of protecting the health and safety of workers worldwide, are global leaders in the design, manufacture, testing, and distribution of personal protective and safety equipment, which protects more than 125 million workers across the U.S. Since 1933, ISEA has been a recognized leader in the development of ANSI-accredited safety equipment standards, in the United States and around the world. ISEA works with Congress and government agencies to consult with policymakers whose decisions affect the industry.

Nationwide, the safety equipment industry supports 345,001 total jobs and generates more than $71.6 billion in economic activity. In 2020, the safety equipment industry paid $5 billion in federal taxes and nearly $4 billion in state taxes, for a total tax generation of $9 billion. For more information, visit safetyequipment.org.




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