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Simulated workplace performance of N95 respirators.
Coffey-CC; Campbell-DL; Zhuang-Z
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1999 Sep/Oct; 60(5):618-624
During July 1995 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) began to certify nine new classes of particulate respirators. To determine the level of performance of these respirators, NIOSH researchers conducted a study to (1) measure the simulated workplace performance of 21 N95 respirator models, (2) determine whether fit-testing affected the performance, and (3) investigate the effect of varying fit-test pass/fail criteria on respirator performance. The performance of each respirator model was measured by conducting 100 total penetration tests. The performance of each respirator model was then estimated by determining the 95th percentile of the total penetration through the respirator (i.e., 95% of wearers of that respirator can expect to have a total penetration value below the 95th percentile penetration value). The 95th percentile of total penetrations for each respirator without fit-testing ranged from 6 to 88%. The 95th percentile of total penetrations for all the respirators combined was 33%, which exceeds the amount of total penetration (10%) normally expected of a half-mask respirator. When a surrogate fit test (1% criterion) was applied to the data, the 95th percentile of total penetrations for each respirator decreased to 1 to 16%. The 95th percentile of total penetrations for all the respirators combined was only 4%. Therefore, fit-testing of N95 respirators is necessary to ensure that the user receives the expected level of protection. The study also found that respirator performance was dependent on the value of the pass/fail criterion used in the surrogate fit-test.
Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Performance-capability; Health-hazards; Simulation-methods; Models; Protective-equipment; Author Keywords: fit-test; N95 respirator; pass/fail criterion; total penetration
Christopher C. Coffey, Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505-2888
Issue of Publication
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division