FDA eases rules on medical face coverings to boost availability

The FDA updated its COVID-19 respirator guidance this week to expand their availability.

The latest guidelines, issued Sept. 15, permit the use of barrier face coverings and face masks for medical purposes as long as they do not pose an undue risk, even if the products are not in compliance with certain regulatory requirements. 

"FDA-cleared or FDA-authorized surgical masks should be used whenever possible," the guidance states. "However, FDA does not intend to object to individuals’ distribution and use of improvised PPE when FDA-cleared or FDA-authorized surgical masks are not available."

The latest guidance is in effect for the duration of the public health emergency. 

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