The mission of the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is to prevent work-related illness and injury by ensuring the development, certification, deployment, and use of personal protective equipment and fully integrated, intelligent ensembles. This is accomplished through the advancement and application of personal protective technology standards. Like everything else about this new agency of government (founded in 2001), this is an evolving mission statement for a changing and evolving agency. While NPPTL inherited a portfolio of research into personal protective equipment technology and an extensive real-world standards-setting and certification program that impacts directly on the use of respirators in the workplace, NPPTL has been striving to seek new ground in a performance-driven environment in which there are new areas of emphasis, technologies, and responsibilities.
As part of a multifaceted look at the inherited and evolving portfolio of the NPPTL, the laboratory asked the National Academies to undertake a special look at the informational underpinnings of the respirator use program in mid-2005 and to report back expeditiously with recommendations.