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Nanoparticle Workplace Protection Factor Studies - FY12

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.


  • To validate that NIOSH-approved air purifying respirators provide expected levels of protection commensurate with their assigned protection factor for workers handling nanoparticles.

Lab workers wearing PPE

Applicable Standards

  • 42 CFR, ASTM E56, ISO TC 229

Key Partners

  • NIOSH NTRC Funding
  • NIOSH-Cincinnati Equipment design and workplace protection factor studies
  • Larry Janssen


  • Respirator users
  • Industrial hygienists
  • Respirator manufacturers
  • Filter media manufacturers
  • Nanotechnology companies

Project Scope

  • Measure SWPFs for N95 and P100 FFRs and elastomeric half-mask respirators, as a function of particle size (20400 nm size range) donned by subjects exposed to salt aerosols in an exposure chamber
  • Determine if P100-class provides better protection than N95-class respirators under laboratory conditions
  • Validate that field portable instruments can be used to obtain count-based WPFs
  • Determine if respirators provide the expected level of protection to workers in real workplaces where engineered nanoparticles are produced and handled


  • Q1: Study protocol development
  • Q2: Study protocol development; initiate CNT filtration testing
  • Q3: Obtain IRB protocol approval. Start Phase 1 of laboratory fit testing
  • Q4: Complete Phases 1 & 2 of laboratory testing, submit nanoparticle leakage and CNT filtration papers to peer-reviewed journals


  • Manuscript published or submitted to peer-reviewed journals (1)
  • Presentations to stakeholders or conferences (2)
  • Standards committee meetings and public meetings (0)


  • Experimental data from project will be used in NIOSH, OSHA, ASTM, & ISO guidelines for worker protection against airborne nanoparticles
  • Other researchers will use the methodology developed for nanoparticles to conduct additional WPF studies to validate the performance of other types of respiratory protective devices
Page last updated: April 17, 2012
Page last reviewed: April 17, 2012
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory