Estimating reusability of organic air-purifying respirator cartridges.
J Occup Environ Hyg 2011 Oct; 8(10):609-617
Reuse of organic vapor air-purifying respirator cartridges after a job or shift can provide economy and energy savings. However, standards and manufacturers' guidance discourage reuse, presumably due to a lack of quantitative objective exposure and use information. Storage and simulated reuse laboratory studies and modeling have been done to provide such information. Two important parameters of breakthrough curves, midpoint time (related to adsorption capacity) and midpoint slope (related to adsorption rate), have been shown to be unchanged during storage for reuse. Extrapolations to smaller breakthrough concentrations and times can be made from this reference breakthrough and time. Significant step increases in breakthrough concentration upon cartridge reuse have been observed in some cases. Values of immediate breakthrough concentrations upon reuse (IBURs) have been measured and correlated. The Dubinin/Radushkevich adsorption isotherm equation has been used to estimate maximum IBURs, which depend on many factors, including conditions and duration of first use. An empirical equation describing rate of approach to maximum IBUR as a function of storage time has been developed to provide intermediate IBUR estimates, which are also very dependent on the vapor identity and extent of first-use loading. Using these equations, IBUR estimates with appropriate safety factors can be compared with the allowable breakthrough concentration to help the Industrial Hygienist make reusability decisions.
Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Air-purifying-respirators; Vapors; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Environmental-exposure; Environmental-factors;
Author Keywords: air-purifying; cartridge; organic vapor; reusability; reuse
Gerry Wood, 40 San Juan Street, Los Alamos, NM 87544
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene