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Manikin-based performance evaluation of elastomeric respirators against combustion particles.

He X; Yermakov M; Reponen T; McKay RT; James K; Grinshpun SA
J Occup Environ Hyg 2013 Apr; 10(4):203-212
This study investigated the effects of faceseal leakage, breathing flow, and combustion material on the overall (non-size-selective) penetration of combustion particles into P-100 half and full facepiece elastomeric respirators used by firefighters. Respirators were tested on a breathing manikin exposed to aerosols produced by combustion of three materials (wood, paper, and plastic) in a room-size exposure chamber. Testing was performed using a single constant flow (inspiratory flow rate = 30 L/min) and three cyclic flows (mean inspiratory flow rates = 30, 85, and 135 L/min). Four sealing conditions (unsealed, nose-only sealed, nose and chin sealed, and fully sealed) were examined to evaluate the respirator faceseal leakage. Total aerosol concentration was measured inside (C(in)) and outside (C(out)) the respirator using a condensation particle counter. The total penetration through the respirator was determined as a ratio of the two (P = C(in) / C(out)). Faceseal leakage, breathing flow type and rate, and combustion material were all significant factors affecting the performance of the half mask and full facepiece respirators. The efficiency of P-100 respirator filters met the NIOSH certification criteria (penetration =0.03%); it was not significantly influenced by the challenge aerosol and flow type, which supports the current NIOSH testing procedure using a single challenge aerosol and a constant airflow. However, contrary to the NIOSH total inward leakage (TIL) test protocol assuming that the result is independent on the type of the tested aerosol, this study revealed that the challenge aerosol significantly affects the particle penetration through unsealed and partially sealed half mask respirators. Increasing leak size increased total particle penetration. The findings point to some limitations of the existing TIL test in predicting protection levels offered by half mask elastomeric respirators.
Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Face-masks; Particulates; Fire-fighters; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Smoke-inhalation; Analytical-processes; Health-hazards; Respiratory-protection; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Aerosols; Aerosol-particles; Humans; Men; Women; Author Keywords: combustion aerosol; elastomeric respirator; manikin; total penetration
Sergey A. Grinshpun, University of Cincinnati, Department of Environmental Health, 3223 Eden Ave., P.O. Box 670056, Cincinnati, OH 45267
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T42-OH-008432; Grant-Number-T01-OH-008431; B20130805; M082013
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Performing Organization
University of Cincinnati
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division