Reusable elastomeric respirators, rarely used in health care, are an effective and viable option for protecting health care workers from airborne contaminants or infectious agents, according to a report released today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Challenges to implementing them in health care include storage, disinfection and maintenance; training and education; user comfort and tolerability; and supply logistics and emergency stockpiling, the study committee said. The study calls for research on ways to enhance their design for health care; effective cleaning, disinfection and maintenance processes; and fit test and training methods. It also recommends including reusable respirators in respiratory protection curricula for health care professionals; harmonizing federal guidance and operating procedures for these respirators; and sharing best practices. The study was sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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