National Academies Report Outlines Roadmap to Protect Nation’s Respiratory Health

Georgia Tech Professor Sundaresan Jayaraman is among a small group of national experts that has authored a new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report that outlines a roadmap to protect the respiratory health of all Americans. The first-of-its-kind report seeks to ensure that everyone, including children, has access to appropriate respiratory protective devices and guidance on their effective use.
Jayaraman, professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, is one of 20 experts on the national committee. They recommend that every worker, including essential and gig economy workers, should be covered by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or equivalent respiratory protection requirements when exposed to inhalation hazards in the workplace. Millions currently aren’t covered by an RPP (respiratory protection program).

At the same time, there currently isn’t a federal entity that approves respiratory protection devices intended for the general public. The committee recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) designates a laboratory to oversee standards development, assessment, and approval of such devices. 

Jayaraman is a national leader in studying and defining the roles of engineering design, manufacturing, and materials technologies in public policy. The founding director of Georgia Tech’s Kolon Center for Lifestyle Innovation served on the Committee on Respiratory Protection for the Public and Workers without Respiratory Protection Programs at their Workplaces, a group sponsored by the CDC Foundation, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 

He expands on the report, which is titled “Frameworks for Protecting Workers and the Public from Inhalation Hazards.”

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