ISEA is the trade association for respiratory protection.

In this context, respiratory protection refers to equipment worn by workers to protect them against inhaling hazardous gases, vapors, particulates, chemical agents, biological contaminants, radiological particles or other hazards.  Products include the full range of respiratory protection equipment for industry, mining, healthcare, fire services and emergency response, and the military  – disposable filtering facepiece masks, half-mask or full-facepiece air-purifying respirators, powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs), supplied-air respirators and hoods, and self-contained breathing apparatus. In the US these respirators are designed to meet specifications set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and they are tested and certified in NIOSH labs.  Respirators for fire and emergency services are further tested and certified to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.

ISEA members have a seat at the table when standards are being written that affect their products; they get a first look at changes in standards, they influence the development of new standards, and they are kept informed of developments on standards around the world. The Respiratory Protection Group is an key partner to NIOSH and the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory in development and implementation of respirator standards and approvals. NIOSH personnel regularly consult ISEA, and participate in product group meetings.  ISEA is also represented on respirator standards committees for fire and emergency services, and administers the US technical advisory group to the ISO international respiratory standards committee.

ISEA gives members a full-time Washington office. They are kept up to date on important developments affecting their companies, and are identified with a respected and responsible organization supporting respirator standards and regulation. ISEA has played a leading role in the development of OSHA respiratory protection standards, and is a strong advocate for policies that protect workers and the public against emerging hazards from terrorism and pandemics.  When NIOSH proposed adding fit testing to respirator certification, the group sponsored research showing that the effort would be costly and burdensome to administer, while adding no benefit to users.

ISEA members use the association to learn from each other, and work together to improve markets. Information services are tuned to member companies’ needs. A market data program to track sales of SCBAs is underway, with quarterly reports to participating companies. The association maintains liaison with organizations representing users, specifiers, health and safety professionals and fire and emergency services worldwide.

In addition to bringing companies together in the Respiratory Protection Group, ISEA membership is a link to the larger world of safety equipment, both in the U.S. and around the world. Companies receive regular bulletins and reports on standards, government policies and proposals, and market intelligence. They participate in the association’s annual Executive Summit and Fall Meeting, where the industry comes together to share information and insight. Members’ products are listed in the searchable online Buyers Guide, and promoted in the quarterly Protection Update newsletter.

For more than 75 years, ISEA has set the standard for personal safety equipment manufacturers, supporting and promoting the business interests of its member companies, united in the goal of protecting the health and safety of people worldwide.

Respiratory Protection Standards

American National Standards from ISEA:

  • Draft ANSI/ISEA 195 – Surgical Masks

In addition to liaison with the NIOSH NPPTL, ISEA is represented on the following standards committees and panels:

  • ANSI Z88 – Respiratory Protection
  • ANSI Z117 – Confined Spaces
  • ANSI Z10 – Occupational Health and Safety Systems
  • ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel
  • ASTM E54 – Committee on Homeland Security Applications – E54.4 – PPE
  • NFPA Technical Correlating Committee – Fire & Emergency Service Protective Clothing & Equipment
  • NFPA Technical Committee on Electronic Safety Equipment
  • NFPA Technical Committee on Respiratory Protection & Personal Alarm Equipment
  • NFPA Technical Committee on Gas Hazards
  • US TAG Administrator, ISO TC 94/SC15 – Respiratory Protection
  • International Society for Respiratory Protection (ISRP) – sponsor