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Correlation between respirator fit and respirator fit test panel cells by respirator size.

Zhuang-ZQ; Groce-D; Ahlers-HW; Iskander-W; Landsittel-D; Guffey-S; Benson-S; Viscusi-D; Shaffer-RE
J Occup Environ Hyg 2008 Oct; 5(10):617-628
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), recognizing the difficulties inherent in using old military data to define modern industrial respirator fit test panels, recently completed a study to develop an anthropometric database of the measurements of heads and faces of civilian respirator users. Based on the data collected, NIOSH researchers developed two new panels for fit testing half-facepiece and full-facepiece respirators. One of the new panels (NIOSH bivariate panel) uses face length and face width. The other panel is based on principal component analysis (PCA) to identify the linear combination of facial dimensions that best explains facial variations. The objective of this study was to investigate the correlation between respirator fit and the new NIOSH respirator fit test panel cells for various respirator sizes. This study was carried out on 30 subjects that were selected in part using the new NIOSH bivariate panel. Fit tests were conducted on the test subjects using a PORTACOUNT device and three exercises. Each subject was tested with three replications of four models of P-100 half-facepiece respirators in three sizes. This study found that respirator size significantly influenced fit within a given panel cell. Face size categories also matched the respirator sizing reasonably well, in that the small, medium, and large face size categories achieved the highest geometric mean fit factors in the small, medium, and large respirator sizes, respectively. The same pattern holds for fit test passing rate. Therefore, a correlation was found between respirator fit and the new NIOSH bivariate fit test panel cells for various respirator sizes. Face sizes classified by the PCA panel also followed a similar pattern with respirator fit although not quite as consistently. For the LANL panel, however, both small and medium faces achieved best fit in small size respirators, and large faces achieved best fit in medium respirators. These findings support the selection of the facial dimensions for developing the new NIOSH bivariate respirator fit test panel.
Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-function-tests; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Laboratory-testing
Ziqing Zhuang, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
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Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene