CDC Guidance on Extended Use of Disposable N95 Masks
Several growers have contacted CAWG with concerns that limited availability of N95 respirators may disrupt necessary, time sensitive vineyard operations. We are responding to these concerns in two ways: 1) working with CDFA to aid the supply of N95 masks to agricultural operators, without compromising critical healthcare priorities, and 2) providing you with guidance obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on reuse of N95 masks/respirators.
The CDC issued Recommended Guidance for Extended Use and Limited Reuse of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in Healthcare Settings. While CDC’s guidance is not intended for agricultural settings, it is clear that the safe reuse of N95 masks is possible, if carefully managed.
To the extent you wish to extend the useful life of the N95 mask, where use of the mask is a voluntary option for your workers, then you may want to consider CDC’s guidance. CAWG recrafted CDC’s guidance into a document for readability and applicability in the agricultural setting. You can locate that document HERE . However, the guidance does not constitute a recommendation from CAWG.
To the extent use of the N95 mask is required for pest control activities, then CAWG recommends you make your county agricultural commissioner aware that you are using CDC’s guidance for reuse of N95 masks.