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NIOSH Program Portfolio

 

Manufacturing

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

927ZJHA - Physiological Evaluation of Air Fed Ensembles

Start Date: 10/1/2009
End Date: 9/30/2011

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Nina Turner
Phone: 304-285-5976
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: NPPTL
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed
5.0

Secondary Goal Addressed
None


Attributed to Manufacturing
50%

Project Description

Short Summary

The purpose of this laboratory-based research project is to evaluate the metabolic and respiratory responses of men and women wearers of commercially available air-fed ensembles at rest and during low-intensity exercise on a treadmill. The specific goals are to measure inhaled gas concentrations, pressures, and temperatures while men and women wear three different manufacturers' air-fed ensembles at rest and during low-intensity treadmill walking.



This project addresses the Cross-Sector Program goals for Personal Protective Technology of reducing exposure to both inhalation and dermal hazards.



Outputs from this project will include dissemination of results via presentations at national and stakeholders meetings and a peer-reviewed journal publication. An outcome will be the incorporation of findings into the test procedures contained in a draft air-fed suit certification module to be produced by the Policy and Standards Development Branch, NPPTL. Ultimately, completion of the objectives of this project will result in a significant step toward reducing inhalation and dermal injuries to wearers of air-fed ensembles.



PROJECT STAFF AND FUNDING WILL BE ADJUSTED AFTER CONTINUING PROJECTS ARE FINALIZED



Description

The purpose of this laboratory-based research project is to evaluate the metabolic and respiratory responses of men and women wearers of commercially available air-fed ensembles at rest and during low-intensity exercise on a treadmill. The specific goals are to measure inhaled gas concentrations, pressures, and temperatures while men and women wear three different manufacturers' air-fed ensembles at rest and during low-intensity treadmill walking. The objective of the project is to provide findings to the Policy and Standards Development Branch, NPPTL, for incorporation into a draft certification module for air-fed ensembles.



This research will be conducted in the Physiology Laboratory of the Technology Research Branch, NPPTL. Subjects will be recruited from the Pittsburgh area, will provide informed consent before participating in the study, and will receive a medical examination prior to being accepted into the study. Subjects will complete testing in approximately three hours. Testing will consist of seated rest (10 minutes), treadmill walking at 2.0 mph (10 minutes), and treadmill walking at 3.0 mph (10 minutes) while wearing a tee shirt, pants, and a face mask to collect metabolic and respiratory data. Subjects will then donn three different air-fed ensemble and repeat the rest and exercise bouts. Descriptive statistics will be used to determine mean inhaled oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations and inhalation and exhalation pressures and temperatures.



During first and second quarter FY10, a protocol will be developed with the input of Policy and Standards Development Branch personnel and external stakeholders such as ensemble manufacturers. Peer review of the research protocol will be completed by the end of 2Q FY10. NIOSH Human Subject Review Board (HSRB) approval will be obtained by 3Q FY10. All human subject testing will be completed by the end of 4Q FY10. Data analysis will be completed by 2Q FY11, and a draft manuscript will be completed by 4Q FY11.



This project will be conducted with input from the Policy and Standards Development Branch, NPPTL, air-fed ensemble manufacturers, and members of relevant standards-setting groups. Outputs will include dissemination of results via presentations at national and stakeholders meetings and a peer-reviewed journal publication. An outcome will be the incorporation of findings into the test procedures contained in a draft air-fed suit certification module to be produced by the Policy and Standards Development Branch. Ultimately, completion of the objectives of this project will result in a significant step toward reducing injuries to wearers of air-fed ensembles.



Objectives

The purpose of this laboratory-based research project is to evaluate the metabolic and respiratory responses of men and women wearers of commercially available air-fed ensembles at rest and during low-intensity exercise on a treadmill. The objective of this research project is to provide the findings of this study to the Policy and Standards Development Branch, NPPTL, for incorporation into a draft certification module for air-fed ensembles. Completion of this objective will enable the production of a certification module containing human test methods and pass/fail criteria which are supported by recent human subject research. Successful achievement of this outcome will be substantiated by inclusion of a reference to the study and its outputs in the draft certification module for air-fed ensembles.



The overall success of the project will be further evaluated indirectly using the annual OPM survey of stakeholders and customers conducted by NPPTL. This project will affect several areas covered in the survey including knowledge, quality, and intangibles as well as the overall satisfaction rate. This project will also impact several of the NPPTL specific questions in the survey that address awareness and relevance of NPPTL research.



Mission Relevance

An air-fed ensemble is an encapsulating suit with an external source of breathing air which provides respiratory protection without the use of a tight-fitting facepiece. These ensembles were originally developed in the 1960ís to protect nuclear plant workers from respiratory and dermal hazards. Today they are being sold as replacements for suits which include airline respirators with facepieces and are being advertised as providing a high degree of comfort, mobility, visibility, and respiratory protection. They are currently worn by government employees at the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as by workers in the nuclear, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. There are no U.S. national standards for air-fed ensembles, and any consensus standard would have to include NIOSH certification of the respiratory protection performance of such an ensemble under Title 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 84.

Policy and Standards Development Branch, NPPTL, received feedback from a stakeholders meeting that this type of research is needed. A module for the testing and certification of air-fed ensembles has been proposed (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docket/nioshdocket0148A.html); however, recent published research is lacking.

A primary mission of the Technology Evaluation Branch of the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), NIOSH, is to certify respiratory protective equipment according to standards contained in 42 CFR Part 84. As part of that mission, test regulations are updated/revised on an ongoing basis through the publication of certification modules for public comment. A module for the testing and certification of air-fed ensembles has been proposed; however, recent research including human subject testing of currently available air-fed ensembles is lacking. The goal of this project is to evaluate the metabolic and respiratory responses of wearers of air-fed ensembles at rest and during low-intensity exercise on a treadmill. Findings will be provided to the Policy and Standards Development Branch, NPPTL, in support of the development of an air-fed ensemble certification module.



Page last updated: June 3, 2011
Page last reviewed: May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director

 

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