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Metabolic Evaluation of N95 Respirator Use With Surgical Masks -FY08


  • This project will investigate the recommendation by the IOM to examine the effects of the placement of a surgical mask over a N95 particulate filtering respirator using the Automated Breathing and Metabolic Simulator. A subset of respirators and surgical mask will be tested to compare with a companion field study by the Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Testing masks with Automated Breathing and Metabolic Simulator

Applicable Standards

  • Standard development for ISO and ANSI

Key Partners

  • VA


  • CDC & IOM for guideline recommendations
  • First responders
  • Health care providers / first receivers / hospitals
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Public, at large

Project Scope

  • Select N95 respirators & surgical masks based on the US Strategic National Stockpile and the VA study
  • Perform tests on each model and type (cup, cup with fit enhancements, cone/duckbill, flat-fold), medium size (or M/L or universal), with and without exhalation valves, with and without surgical masks = 192 tests
  • Perform tests on same respirator models and surgical mask as those used in VA field study = 8 tests


  • Q1 Repair ABMS instruments and conduct Mine Escape chamber evaluations
  • Q2 25% Data collection
  • Q3 75% Data collection
  • Q4 100% Data collection; Prepare abstract; begin manuscript


  • Manuscripts published or submitted to peer review journals
  • Presentations to stakeholders or conferences
  • Combine results with subjective information from VA study
  • Presentations at scientific meetings - NORA and AIHCe
  • Future human studies with focus on low performing combinations


  • Data are used to consider revisions or support NIOSH / CDC guidance on respiratory protection for healthcare workers, and subsequent test protocols may be considered in the development of ISO and ANSI standards
Page last updated: August 08, 2008
Page last reviewed: August 08, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)