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Respiratory performance offered by N95 respirators and surgical masks: human subject evaluation with NaCl aerosol representing bacterial and viral particle size range.

Authors
Lee-SA; Grinshpun-SA; Reponen-T
Source
Ann Occup Hyg 2008 Apr; 52(3):177-185
NIOSHTIC No.
20034060
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed at determining the protection factors (PFs) provided by N95 filtering facepiece respirators and surgical masks against particles representing bacterial and viral size ranges (aerodynamic size: 0.04-1.3 mum). METHODS: The protection levels of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (four models) and surgical masks (three models) were investigated while they were donned by 12 subjects performing the OSHA (US Occupational Safety and Health Administration) fit-testing exercises in a test chamber. RESULTS: About 29% of N95 respirators and approximately 100% of surgical masks had PFs <10, which is the assigned PF designated for this type of respirator by the OSHA. On average, the PFs of N95 respirators were 8-12 times greater than those of surgical masks. The minimum PFs were observed in the size range of 0.04-0.2 mum. No significant difference in PF results was found between N95 respirators with and without an exhalation valve. CONCLUSIONS: The study indicates that N95 filtering facepiece respirators may not achieve the expected protection level against bacteria and viruses. An exhalation valve on the N95 respirator does not affect the respiratory protection; it appears to be an appropriate alternative to reduce the breathing resistance.
Keywords
Statistical-analysis; Risk-analysis; Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Bacterial-dusts; Bacterial-infections; Personal-protective-equipment; Viral-infections; Humans; Surgeons; Particle-aerodynamics; Particulate-dust; Particulates
Contact
Shu-An Lee, Department of Environmental Engineering and Science, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China
CODEN
AOHYA3
Publication Date
20080401
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
reponeta@ucmail.uc.edu
Funding Amount
607000
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2008
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-004085
Issue of Publication
3
ISSN
0003-4878
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment; Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Annals of Occupational Hygiene
State
OH
Performing Organization
University of Cincinnati
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