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A head-and-face anthropometric survey of U.S. respirator users.

Bradtmiller B; Friess M
NIOSH 2004 May; :1-111
In 1973, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) sponsored a study that resulted in creation of a test panel of persons who were used to represent the head-and-face variability found in the U.S. population. Test panels based on these data, still used today for the design of protective respiratory products, are now more than 30 years old. Furthermore, the data were obtained from military subjects who do not necessarily represent the civilian working population of interest to NIOSH. In 2001 NIOSH contracted with Anthrotech of Yellow Springs, OH, to develop an anthropometric data base representing the heads and faces of U.S. civilian respirator users. A secondary objective was to obtain a subset of three-dimensional head-and-face scans for the purpose of future research in the relationships between head-and-face shape and respirator sizing and design. A total of 4026 subjects were recruited from among industrial and service workers using respirators in eight states across the country. Subjects were measured for 21 dimensions, using traditional anthropometric instruments (anthropometer, calipers, and tape). Of this total, 1045 were also scanned to produce three-dimensional images. The sampling plan called for roughly equal numbers of male and female subjects in four racial/ethnic groups (White, African American, Hispanic, and Other) divided into three age groups (18-29, 30- 44, and over 45). Oversampling in some of these categories will allow modification of the data base as sex, age, and racial composition of the U.S. working force changes in future years. A team that included trained measurers and an experienced scanner operator moved around the country during the first half of 2003 to collect the data. Anthrotech editing routines were used in the field to ensure optimum accuracy. Both the traditional measuring data and the 3-D scans were further edited and cleaned up before the final products were released. Traditional data were weighted to reflect the percentage of individuals in each sex, age, and race category found in the entire civilian population. As population demographics change, the sample can be re-weighted so it is continually correct. These data were analyzed for the purpose of producing new test panel matrices for the design and sizing of respirators. This report includes revised test panels, and tables of anthropometric summary statistics for men and women separately. Head and face scans have been submitted to NIOSH electronically. While the main purpose of this study was to create a data base of respirator users, this document also describes a brief, exploratory examination of 3-D landmarks. Specific scanned subjects are identified by subject number as representing the range of face shapes in the U.S. population of civilian respirator users.
Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Anthropometry; Demographic-characteristics; Sex-factors; Sampling; Sampling-methods; Age-factors; Racial-factors; Statistical-analysis
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Contract Report
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Anthrotech, Yellow Springs, OH
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division