A new cartridge for the 3M respirators has been launched by US safety regulator the Federal Trade Commission.
The 3M Flexible Breathing System (FBS) cartridges are manufactured by the US subsidiary of the German firm Boehringer Ingelheim and include the Flexible Airway System (FAWS), which is the standard respirator for emergency workers.
It has a diameter of about 9 millimeters (0.39 inches) and weighs about 1.7 grams.
The 3Ms respirator is the first to feature a 3m filter.
The FSA is currently investigating a number of complaints about 3M’s Flexible Auto-Respirator cartridges, which have been found to cause serious eye and lung injuries, according to the regulator.”FBS cartridges have been identified as being potentially dangerous for the safety of those who use them, and the safety standards for those who operate them are set to be revised,” said FTC Commissioner Jessica Rich.
The FBS cartridges are made in China, and some of the devices are being tested in the US.
The agency said it will “rethink” its initial safety classification for the cartridges, and will consider reclassifying the products as “unsafe”.
“The 3m respirators were designed to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals and other respiratory hazards,” said Rich.
“But, in some cases, 3M is producing and distributing the cartridges that contain toxic materials.”
The FSA has been working to educate the public about the risks of the 3Ms and has contacted some manufacturers to ask them to remove the filters from their 3M products.
The Federal Trade Commision said in a statement it was “committed to ensuring that safety regulations are met for safety products”.
The agency also said it was working to ensure that any changes to the 3MS cartridges were made to meet safety standards.
It said it would also “reconsider” the FSA’s safety classification of the FBS.
“In the meantime, we are taking the appropriate steps to ensure compliance with existing safety standards,” the agency said.
“We will reevaluate our initial classification if we find that the products are unsafe.”
More to come.