NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
NPPTL007a - Workplace protection factors for respirators in nanomaterial workplaces (NTRC)
Principal Investigator (PI)
Primary Goal Addressed
Secondary Goal Addressed
Attributed to Manufacturing
This project will determine workplace protection factors for N95 filtering facepiece respirators in workplaces handling nanoparticles to ensure respiratory protection to workers.
This project supports NIOSH NTRC Intermediate Goal 3.1 to better understand PPE use with nanomaterial. The NTRC strategic plan calls for research on PPE workplace protection factor studies of nanotechnology workers. This project also supports IRSST, Canada to develop new strategies supporting worker health and safety (NTRC Strategic Goal 4).
Major outputs will include publication of manuscripts in peer reviewed journals and presentations in scientific and stakeholder meeting. Intermediate outcomes include the development of guidance documents by NIOSH, other government agencies, and standards development organizations for respiratory protection for nanoparticles. Test methodologies developed in the project can be utilized by other researchers. The results of the study will support NIOSH/NPPTL programs on total inward leakage.
The goal of this project is to determine the workplace protection factor for N95 filtering facepiece respirators for nanoparticles.
The following specific aims will address the goals of the multiyear project. 1) Establish a nanoparticle test system and standardize experimental conditions for measuring nanoparticle concentrations inside and outside of the respirators using a breathing manikin in an exposure chamber. 2) Determine the simulated workplace protection factor for nanoparticles employing test subjects in an exposure chamber. 3) Determine the workplace protection factor for respirators employing test subjects in a nanoparticle workplace. The workplace protection factor for commonly used N95 filtering facepiece respirators will be determined to assess the concentration of nanoparticles reaching the breathing zone of a respirator.
1. Standardization of test methodologies for measuring nanoparticle concentration inside and outside of the respirators using a breathing manikin in an exposure chamber. This task will be completed in the FY2010.
2. Simulated workplace protection factor study will be conducted in an exposure chamber containing nanoparticles on test subjects wearing respirators and doing a set of exercises. This task will be completed in the FY2011.
3. Determine work protection factors for nanoparticles with test subjects in a real workplace containing nanoparticles. Workplace protection factor will be measured for N95 filtering facepiece respirator models. This task will be completed in the FY2012.
4. Compile and analyze data to obtain the workplace protection factors for the different respirator models. The variation among respirator models and test subjects will be assessed. Manuscripts will be written for publication in peer reviewed journals. This task will be completed in the FY2013.
According to a recent BLS/NIOSH survey of private-sector respirator use in the United States, more than three million workers use respirators on the job. It is estimated that by the year 2015, more than a million workers may be employed in the nanotechnology industries in the United States alone. Workers depend on NIOSH-approved respirators for protection against various particulates including nanoparticles. Nanoparticle exposure has been shown to have potential environmental and health implications. Workplace protection factor for respirators against larger size (>100 nm) particles is widely described, while information for nanoparticles is not well understood.
NIOSH NTRC Strategic plan has identified the workplace protection factor study as one of the priority goals. In Canada, the IRSST and NanoQuébec launched research projects to develop new strategies supporting worker health and safety in collaboration with NIOSH.
In this project, workplace protection factor for commonly used N95 filtering facepiece respirators will be measured under simulated workplace conditions and in real workplaces containing nanoparticles. The results of the studies will be important to understand the workplace protection factors for one type of respirator for workplaces handling nanoparticles. The outcome of the project will benefit workers against nanoparticle exposure in workplaces.