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Aerosol penetration and leakage characteristics of masks used in the health care industry.
Weber A; Willeke K; Marchioni R; Myojo T; McKay R; Donnelly J; Liebhaber F
Am J Infect Control 1993 Aug; 21(4):167-173
Surgical masks were tested to determine the degree of aerosol particle penettion through their filter media and through induced face seal leaks. Eight surgical masks from four different manufacturers were tested on mannequins using a corn-oil test aerosol. The percentage of filter penetration ranged from 20% to nearly 100% for submicrometer sized particles. An industrial dust/mist/fume respirator was also tested for comparison. This had significantly less penetration through its filter medium. When the surgical masks had artificially induced face seal leaks, the concentration of submicrometer sized particles inside the mask increased slightly. The more protective dust/mist/fume respirator showed a four fold increase in aerosol penetration into the mask with an artificial leak 4 millimeters in diameter. The authors conclude that the protection, as provided by surgical masks, may be insufficient in environments containing potentially hazardous submicrometer sized aerosols.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Grant; Respirators; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-clothing; Respiratory-protection; Airborne-dusts; Health-care-personnel; Infection-control; Aerosol-particles
Environmental Health University of Cincinnati 3223 Eden Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Infection Control
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division