Do I Need Respiratory Protection?

Emory has a commitment to its faculty and staff to keep them safe while they conduct the world renowned research that has made our name globally recognized. One of the hazards some our researchers face are airborne contaminants. These can be chemicals, animal dander, physical hazards (such as nanoparticles) and biological agents.

Emory uses the “Hierarchy of Controls” to minimize employee exposure to all hazards, including airborne contaminants. The most effective control method to minimize respiratory hazards, outside of eliminating the hazard or substituting the hazard for something less hazardous, is using engineering controls. One example of an engineering control is a chemical fume hood which reduces researchers’ exposure by pulling contaminated air up and away from their breathing zones. However, engineering controls are not always feasible and some airborne contaminants are so hazardous that an engineering control alone is not sufficient at ensuring employee protection. In these instances, Emory requires respiratory protection.

Below are some examples of research at Emory that require respiratory protection:

  • Necropsy of large animals, such as pigs, due to formaldehyde exposure;
  • Animal dander; and
  • Use of MPTP in animal models

How does EHSO know if your research requires respiratory protection? EHSO conducts exposure assessments. This allows us to evaluate potential employee exposure and compare it to established standards. If the employee’s exposure is close to or above establish standards and engineering controls are not feasible, EHSO will advise on respiratory protection, including the type of mask and filter cartridges to best address your needs.

Have questions about respiratory protection? Email us at

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