The TRSA, the textile services association for North America, continues to campaign strongly for reusable healthcare PPE to be the preferred option across the USA and has received feedback from a congressional letter sent to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The reply contained encouraging and not-so-encouraging content, according to a news report from the TSA.

During the TRSA’s 2023 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, the focus of the legislative visits were to gain signatures for a congressional letter to send to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra. The letter asked Secretary Becerra to study the benefits of reusable personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare facilities and find ways to increase the amount of reusable PPE in healthcare operations.

Thirteen members of Congress added their name to the letter, which was sent in June. The CDC has now responded to the congressional inquiry. Click here to see the letter.

In its response, the CDC said that “the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its National Protective Technology Laboratory are dedicated to addressing all issues concerning PPE, including opportunities for supporting and sustaining the increased use of reusable PPE in healthcare settings.” The letter went on to say that “NIOSH will also conduct a study of the potential benefits and feasibility of increasing the usage of reusable HCTs and any potential savings that would be gained through their use.”

The letter did have a concerning statement. It said that “Multiple reusable isolation gown models on the US market (6 of 9 models) failed to align with ANSI PB-70 requirement at label specified by manufacturer after one or multiple laundering cycles.”

“The letter from the CDC states the importance of TRSA members needing to get involved in policy,” said Kevin Schwalb, TRSA’s vice president of government relations. “It is one thing for stakeholders to make a request of HHS, it is a whole other thing for HHS to get a request from Congress which they are compelled to respond.”

The CDC response contains both encouraging and concerning information. TRSA is working to formulate a response and be a contributor to the ongoing studies on reusable PPE in healthcare facilities.