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Demand for respiratory protective equipment to rise across medical sector during COVID-19

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) industry is currently revolutionizing. Working in chemical, construction, manufacturing, and other big industries is not as fancy as it looks out to be. Inhalation of smoke, toxic chemicals, spilling of hazardous chemicals, toxic emission from waste, and other unusual accidents can be fatal to workers in these industries. Back in 2017, nearly 41 workers in the United States died on the job after a single episode of inhaling chemicals and chemical products. This calls in for adopting better and effective protective equipment that can prevent toxic gases and fumes from entering the human body, say respiratory protective equipment.


What is respiratory protective equipment?

Respiratory protective equipment is a specific type of PPE which is used to protect the individual wearer against the inhalation of hazardous substances in the workplace air. Various governmental organizations cite that the RPE must only be used where adequate control of exposure cannot be accomplished by other means.


The respiratory protective equipment industry is currently expanding at an unprecedented pace. This can be backed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the rising cases of mortality due to inhalation of toxic gases. It has been estimated that the global respiratory protective equipment market would surge to $11.05 billion by 2026.


Analyzing the role of respiratory protective equipment against natural workplace hazards in vivid industries

There are umpteen roles that are being performed by RPE in different industries. Given below is a brief snapshot of the functions of respiratory protective equipment in myriad sectors, which has been adding impetus to the overall RPE business space lately:

Industrial workspace

Industries, be it manufacturing, oil and gas, coal mining, and others, are a hotspot for major accidents and highest fatalities. This means that the chances of lung damage in these sectors are relatively higher than the others.


Silicosis, a lung disease caused due to inhalation of tiny bits of silica, is currently one of the major threats for these industries. Apparently, there are 30 new cases each year of silicosis worldwide. In fact, the WHO has announced that of workers in the US who are exposed to silica dust, about 59,000 are susceptible to developing silicosis, with 166 succumbing to death every year.


Considering such dreaded numbers, various government organizations have come up to mandate the use of respirators to protect workers from onsite hazards. Speaking of which, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) revealed its revised respiratory protection standard 1910.134. It publicizes the need for wearing respirators when exposed to occupation airborne chemicals and contaminated air, fueling the respiratory protective equipment market growth.


Medical sector

Respirators and respiratory protective equipment are not a new thing in the medical and healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals and medical staff have been making use of these equipment to protect themselves from cross contamination of severe infections. However, the COVID-19 jolt has changed the perspective of respiratory protective equipment in the sector today.


The healthcare and medical sector is currently witnessing a boom worldwide, majorly driven by the novel coronavirus outbreak. It is essential to mention that owing to the widescale spread of coronavirus crisis, the respiratory protective equipment industry is now observing a full-scale transformation with the demand for respirators skyrocketing.


How has SARS-CoV-2 infection uplifted the marketplace for respiratory protective equipment?

Fighting an intense battle against coronavirus, masks and respirator PPEs have come out strong as intrinsic need.


What is respirator PPE? Respirator PPE are equipment and products such as masks, face shields, breathing apparatus, and more, that are generally used to offer robust protection against inhalation of toxic gases, airborne particles, and contaminants. Here respirator PPEs are slated to have a major prominence to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2.


SARS-CoV-2 infection, which is infamous for causing respiratory illness and prolonged lung disorder, can only be curbed with the use of proper respirators and masks, as cited by various health organizations and agencies like NIOSH, OSHA, WHO, and others.


Recently revised OSHA guidelines emphasize on providing PPE for employees, including masks for all employees when indoors and respirators for employees who are exposed to COVID-19 patients. These legislations have the potential to augment the dynamics of respiratory protective equipment market over the due course of time.


However, which types of respiratory protective equipment are perfect to use during these emergency times? Two of the general types of respirators being used today are air purifying and supplied air respirators. Air-purifying respirators or APRs function by removing vapors, gases, aerosols, or a combination of contaminants from the air via the use of filters, canisters, or cartridges.


The APRs being prominently used today are non-powered air purifying respirators and powered air purifying respirators. However, powered APRs are gaining immense momentum in overall respiratory protective equipment market. Reason? On account of the below mentioned advantages:

These are made of reusable components and replaceable cartridges or filters
Generally used to protect against gases, particles, or vapors when equipped with appropriate filter
Ability to provide better protection to eyes
Low breathing resistance
Battery-powered with blower that pulls air through attached cartridges or filters


These merits have for sure opened new avenues for powered-APRs across the global markets, which is why its demand during Covid-19 rose multifold. Here is a lookout at some developments in the respiratory protective equipment business space:

Development of India’s cost-effective PAPR kits for frontline warriors by Amrita Hospitals and AMMACHI

Termed as the country’s first ever powered air purifying respirator kits, medical professionals at Amrita Hospitals, in association with AMMACHI Labs, have come up with a noble plan of developing highly affordable kits for frontline workers right from the scratch. This initiative stands to be a milestone in the organizations’ dreams of realizing ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in the healthcare sector.


Dow’s TBH 4 million support to Thailand’s fight against coronavirus waves

Materials science pioneer, Dow’s recent support of TBH 4 million to help Thailand battle against new wave of Covid-19 is expected to have an impeccable impact on overall respiratory protective equipment industry. The company announced its plans of providing in-need medical and protective equipment such as powered air-purifying respirators, to hospitals and Covid-19 screening centers.


United States’ donation of AIRVO respirators to Bahamas

Recently, Bahamas’ Minister of Health announced receiving $500,000 in additional public health assistance from the US. The donation included ten AIRVO respirators for the treatment of respiratory disorders, and an extra ten respirators scheduled to arrive in the span of coming 10 months.


Industrialization: a prominent factor supporting the growth of respiratory protective equipment industry worldwide

With more and more companies and industries coming up in the current era, occupational hazards are bound to grow at an exponential rate. ILO suggests that some 2.3 million women and men globally succumb to work-related accidents and diseases almost every year. This implies that the need for protective equipment, especially respirators, would quadruple in the coming years.


With escalating workspace accidents due to inhalation of toxic fumes and gases, the world is projected to see a dramatic spur in the demand for respiratory protective equipment, thus enabling the global RPE market to shine bright across various verticals in 2021 and beyond.


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