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Elastomeric Respirator Provides Alternative PPE Option

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 09 Dec 2020
A next-generation air-purifying respirator (APR) designed without an exhalation valve provides COVID frontline workers with respiratory protection.

The MSA Safety (Cranberry Township, PA) Advantage 290 LS is an elastomeric half-mask respirator (EHMR) that covers a wearer's nose and mouth, with twin intake valves that can accept N95 flexi-filters or P100 hard shell filters. The soft, pliable combination of rubber and plastic construction provides a customized, pressure-free fit that instantly conforms to facial characteristics. And as it does not include an exhalation valve, the Advantage 290 LS serves both as personal protective equipment (PPE) solution, and as a source control to ensure a sterile healthcare environment.

Image: The Advantage 290 Respirator elastomeric half-mask respirator (Photo courtesy of MSA Safety)
Image: The Advantage 290 Respirator elastomeric half-mask respirator (Photo courtesy of MSA Safety)

“There are many benefits of deploying a respiratory protection program that incorporates EHMRs, including cost-efficiency, reduced space requirements for PPE warehousing, and fewer concerns associated with PPE insecurities during a pandemic,” said Greg Martin, vice president of product strategy and development at MSA. “Our team went a step further and developed a respirator that has the potential to be an even more appealing option for healthcare systems everywhere, as they assess plans for the future and their own pandemic preparedness.”

Elastomeric respirators, such as EHMRs or full facepiece tight-fitting respirators, can be repeatedly used, cleaned, disinfected, stored, and re-used. But elastomeric respirators with exhalation valves should not be used in surgical settings, as the unfiltered air coming out of it may contaminate the surgical field. On the other hand, while in industrial settings filters are replaced when breathing resistance increases, in healthcare settings this is unlikely, as the filters seldom become loaded with heavy concentrations of dust.

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