We Must Push for Sustained Support of Domestic PPE Production & Procurement

Browse any media outlet these days and you’ll see several stark reminders that immediate access to high-quality personal protective equipment is critical to the health and security of our nation.


“The Air is So Toxic”

In the aftermath of the tragic Maui fires, the air is “so toxic” that well-fitting N95 masks are an absolute must, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. To raise awareness about the critical importance of immediate access to high quality respiratory protection in the aftermath of disasters, WTC Ground Zero firefighter Dan Moynihan is partnering with the American Lung Association. His message is simple: “Anyone in the area needs to wear a N95 or HEPA-filter mask.”  


With continuing wildfires in Northern California, Canada, and even Louisiana, not to mention hurricane season ramping up, our need for high-quality respiratory protection in the aftermath of natural disasters shows no sign of abating any time soon. As Time magazine recently proclaimed, “an N95 mask is your best outdoor defense against wildfire smoke.”


The Back-to-School Tripledemic

As summer travel winds down and children return to school, multiple reports anticipate another “tripledemic” this fall, comprised of seasonal influenza, RSV and the now-dominant Eris COVID variant (as well as the emerging Pirola). To protect our critical health care workers during these and future outbreaks, a recent article in the prominent journal Annals of Internal Medicine recommends following the lead of Washington State, with near-universal masking for health care professionals (13 million of which require respiratory protection on the job, according to ISEA research).


National Preparedness is National Security

With natural disasters occurring more regularly and with greater intensity, and the frequency and risks of outbreaks escalating into pandemics also increasing, we best remember the lessons learned from our most recent pandemic. Most notably: PPE saves lives. But only if it’s available at the right place and time.


Our industry has shown that global supply chains and robust domestic production capacity aren’t mutually exclusive. Advances in supply chain management allow the PPE industry to prioritize capacity for the greatest and most urgent needs (such as frontline healthcare workers and first responders), while still ensuring a steady supply of PPE for other workers who still require on the job protection to go home to their loved ones each day, such as workers in the fields, on the tarmac, or high up on the communications towers.


To help our industry fulfill its promise to protect all workers on the job, ISEA calls on the Administration to renew its commitment to direct and sustained support of domestic PPE production and procurement, including establishing warm manufacturing contracts and replenishing stockpiles. PPE manufacturers that served the nation’s workforce before the pandemic are the optimal choice for federal partnership.  These companies have vast customers bases, trusted brand names, demonstrated ability to deliver quality products at needed quantities, and these companies have existing national distribution networks to get products where they need to go, when they need to be there.  A healthy and robust domestic respirator manufacturing base is particularly critical to keep our nation prepared for whatever may come.  


Our 50 million U.S. workers who require respiratory protection on the job deserve nothing less.




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