While public figures fretted over what to do in the face of biological terrorism, safety and security professionals were developing protocols from good common sense safety science. Taking a proactive stance, equipment manufacturers and suppliers are working with these professionals to develop the standards for the selection and use of protective clothing and respiratory protection to keep first responders safe from biohazards.
As we learned from the anthrax attacks in October 2001, when the biological hazard was identified, responders could safely change to EPA Level B chemical protective clothing and finally to EPA Level C chemical protective clothing with N95 air-purifying respirators with HEPA filters. This level of respiratory protection is adequate to protect from tuberculosis and known concentrations of known biological pathogens. This is the same EPA Level C chemical protective clothing (with gloves and an air-purifying respirator) that is routinely used for known concentrations of lead and asbestos.