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Electrostatic respirator filter media exposed to IDLH concentrations of common organic vapors.

Martin S; Fox J; Stallings R; Moyer E
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :67
NIOSH and other researchers have previously shown that electrostatic respirator filters can exhibit significant filter efficiency degradation after exposures to saturated organic vapors. However, using these filters in an environment saturated with organic vapor is not realistic. In fact, the highest organic vapor concentration that non-powered, air-purifying respirators can be properly used in is either the Assigned Protection Factor of the respirator multiplied by the Permissible Exposure Limit of the vapor or the Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) concentration of the vapor, whichever is lower. In this study, new electrostatic non-powered, air-purifying respirator filters, approved under 42 CFR 84 for use in conjunction with organic vapor cartridges, were tested for filter efficiency degradation resulting from organic vapor exposures. N-, R-, and P series filters were exposed to isopropanol and acetone vapors at IDLH concentrations of 2000 and 2500 ppm, respectively, which are the highest concentrations in which these respirator filters could properly be used. The vapor exposures were carried out inside an enclosed chamber as part of a flow-through system. This flow-through system maintains a stable vapor concentration throughout the duration of the 8hour exposures. After vapor exposure, the filters were tested on a TSI CertiTest@ Model 8130 Automated Filter Tester against NaCl aerosol (N-series filters) or a TSI CertiTest@ Model 8110 Automated Filter Tester against DOP aerosol (R- and P-series filters) for aerosol penetration. The measured penetration values for the exposed filters were compared to penetration values for unexposed control filters. The electrostatic N-, R-, and P-series filters showed no significant efficiency degradation from exposure to the IDLH vapor concentrations. This research shows that these electrostatic respirator filters were not degraded by exposures to maximum use concentrations of isopropanol and acetone.
Respirators; Organic-vapors; Vapors; Occupational-exposure; Environmental-factors; Air-purification; Air-purifiers; Air-purifying-respirators; Aerosol-particles; Aerosols; Filters; Filtration; Respiratory-protective-equipment
67-63-0; 67-64-1
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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