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Comparison of performance of three different types of respiratory protection.

Lawrence R; Coffey C; Duling M; Calvert C
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :67
Respiratory protection is offered to American workers in a variety of ways to guard against potential tuberculosis infection. Three of the most common ways are: elastomeric N95 respirators, N95 filtering-facepiece respirators, and surgical masks. This study compared the performance of these types of respiratory protection during a simulated workplace test. A panel of 25 test subjects with varying face sizes tested 15 models of elastomeric N95 respirators, 15 models ofN95 filtering-facepiece respirators, and six models of surgical masks. A simulated workplace test was conducted using a TSI PORTA COUNT Plus model 8020, and consisted of a series of seven exercises. Six simulated workplace tests were performed with re-donning of the respirator/ mask occurring between each test. The results of these tests produced a simulated workplace protection factor (SWPF). The mean of the SWPFs were computed by category of respiratory protection. Elastomeric N95 respirators had a mean SWPF of 65, N95 filtering-facepiece respirators had a mean SWPF of 35, and surgical masks produced a mean SWPF of 3. An analysis of variance (ANOYA) demonstrated a statistically significant difference between all three means. The 5th percentile SWPF was calculated from the six overall SWPF values. Elastomeric N95 respirators had the highest 5th percentile SWPF of 11. N95 filtering-facepiece respirators and surgical masks had 5th percentile SWPFs of 7 and 2, respectively. An ANOYA revealed that the 5th percentile SWPFs for the elastomeric N95 and N95 filtering-facepiece respirators were statistically the same, while the 5th percentile SWPF for surgical masks was statistically different.
Respiratory-protection; Infection-control; Infectious-diseases; Respirators; Workers; Workplace-monitoring; Models; Workplace-studies; Respiratory-protective-equipment
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NIOSH Division
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Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: December 18, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division