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Performance of selected N95 and P100 respirator filters to plant aerosols at a snack food production facility.

Berardinelli S; Lawrence R; Coffey C; Moyer E; Kullman G
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :98
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a workplace respirator filter performance study at a plant that produces snack foods. A main ingredient of the products is finely grounded salt. This study was conducted to determine the workplace performance of particulate respirator filters. In laboratory tests, salt has been shown to have a degrading effect on respirator filter media. Selected N95 and P100 filters were tested against plant aerosols during nor- mal production. The N95 filters were exposed for two- and three-work shifts (16 and 24 hours). P100 filters were exposed for an entire work week (40 hours). Workplace air was drawn through each respirator filter at a flow rate of approximately 45-50 Umin. This flow rate was chosen to load a reasonable amount of particulate on the filter and is comparable to a worker's breathing rate doing moderate work. Paired samples were exposed in two plant locations, to collect duplicate samples. The field exposed filters were returned for lab- oratory evaluation of test aerosol penetration. Control filters with no workplace exposure were also tested for penetration. The P100 filters tested all performed above 99.97% efficiency. Initial penetration values were identical to controls after exposure to plant aerosols. Several N95 filters exceeded 5% penetration after three-work shifts, even though average particulate concentrations at the plant were low (<0.30 mg/m3). These data demonstrate that these plant aerosols can significantly affect the filter efficiency of N95 respirators.
Respirators; Filters; Aerosols; Workplace-studies; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Breathing; Breathing-atmospheres; Air-quality; Sampling; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment
Publication Date
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Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division