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Nanoparticle filtration performance of NIOSH-certified particulate air-purifying filtering facepiece respirators: evaluation by light scattering photometric and particle number-based test methods.

Rengasamy S; Eimer BC
J Occup Environ Hyg 2012 Feb; 9(2):99-109
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certification test methods employ charge neutralized NaCl or dioctyl phthalate (DOP) aerosols to measure filter penetration levels of air-purifying particulate respirators photometrically using a TSI 8130 automated filter tester at 85 L/min. A previous study in our laboratory found that widely different filter penetration levels were measured for nanoparticles depending on whether a particle number (count)-based detector or a photometric detector was used. The purpose of this study was to better understand the influence of key test parameters, including filter media type, challenge aerosol size range, and detector system. Initial penetration levels for 17 models of NIOSH-approved N-, R-, and P-series filtering facepiece respirators were measured using the TSI 8130 photometric method and compared with the particle number-based penetration (obtained using two ultrafine condensation particle counters) for the same challenge aerosols generated by the TSI 8130. In general, the penetration obtained by the photometric method was less than the penetration obtained with the number-based method. Filter penetration was also measured for ambient room aerosols. Penetration measured by the TSI 8130 photometric method was lower than the number-based ambient aerosol penetration values. Number-based monodisperse NaCl aerosol penetration measurements showed that the most penetrating particle size was in the 50 nm range for all respirator models tested, with the exception of one model at approximately 200 nm size. Respirator models containing electrostatic filter media also showed lower penetration values with the TSI 8130 photometric method than the number-based penetration obtained for the most penetrating monodisperse particles. Results suggest that to provide a more challenging respirator filter test method than what is currently used for respirators containing electrostatic media, the test method should utilize a sufficient number of particles <100 nm and a count (particle number)-based detector.
Nanotechnology; Aerosols; Aerosol-particles; Filters; Filter-materials; Respiratory-equipment; Respirators; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Models; Author Keywords: ambient aerosols; filter penetration; filtering facepiece respirator; more challenging test aerosols; NaCl and DOP aerosols; NIOSH certification test
Samy Rengasamy, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, P.O.Box 18070, 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
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division