Respiratory Protection

Respiratory illness is a major health concern for farmers and farmworkers. Many may think that the risk of harmful dusts, vapors, allergens and toxins is mitigated by agriculture work taking place outside, but this simply isn’t true. Exposure to these sorts of workplace hazards can have short and long-term impacts on lung health. Using safety controls such as ventilation systems, air monitoring and respirators are key to respiratory protection. To learn more about respiratory health, check out the information below.



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Respiratory Fit TestingRespiratory protection logo

The NC Agromedicine Institute has been a leader in developing guidelines for farmers’ respiratory protection. The Institute offers fit-testing, medical clearance as well as train-the-trainer programs for Extension agents and farmers to offer some of the same services. Workers that need respiratory protection should be fit tested annually following medical clearance in order to to comply with current regulations. Reach out to Alyssa Spence for more information about fit-testing services offered in your area through Extension.

If you would like to schedule a larger event for 15 or more fit-tests, reach out to the NC Agromedicine Institute directly by contacting NCAI Outreach Specialist, Tami Thompson.


The NCAI also offers huge savings on respiratory protection equipment through their cost share program. Thanks to the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services -Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund, farms and nurseries are eligible for a 50/50 cost share to help them comply with the respiratory protection requirements imposed by the EPA’s Worker Protection Standard. Cost share may be accessed immediately when you purchase respirators or cartridges (North or 3M) at an event hosted by the Institute or by direct ship. To learn more about cost share, contact the Institute at 252.744.1008 or Robin Tutor Marcom


See more about the NCAI Respiratory protection program by clicking here!
Other Respiratory Protection Resources


Respirator Information


Respiratory Protection Program Resources


It’s important to remember that medical clearance MUST be completed PRIOR to fit-testing.  No one is “exempt” from medical clearance, but doctor’s may provide clearance for more than one year.  Medical clearance form(s) must be presented at each fit-test and stored with the fit-test record.  Not having proof of medical clearance is the same as not having a fit-test record and your farm will not be in compliance with WPS.