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Correlation of respirator fit measured on human subjects and a static advanced headform.

Bergman MS; He X; Joseph ME; Zhuang Z; Heimbuch BK; Shaffer RE; Choe M; Wander JD
J Occup Environ Hyg 2015 Mar; 12(3):163-171
This study assessed the correlation of N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) fit between a Static Advanced Headform (StAH) and 10 human test subjects. Quantitative fit evaluations were performed on test subjects who made three visits to the laboratory. On each visit, one fit evaluation was performed on eight different FFRs of various model/size variations. Additionally, subject breathing patterns were recorded. Each fit evaluation comprised three two-minute exercises: "Normal Breathing," "Deep Breathing," and again "Normal Breathing." The overall test fit factors (FF) for human tests were recorded. The same respirator samples were later mounted on the StAH and the overall test manikin fit factors (MFF) were assessed utilizing the recorded human breathing patterns. Linear regression was performed on the mean log10-transformed FF and MFF values to assess the relationship between the values obtained from humans and the StAH. This is the first study to report a positive correlation of respirator fit between a headform and test subjects. The linear regression by respirator resulted in R2 = 0.95, indicating a strong linear correlation between FF and MFF. For all respirators the geometric mean (GM) FF values were consistently higher than those of the GM MFF. For 50% of respirators, GM FF and GM MFF values were significantly different between humans and the StAH. For data grouped by subject/respirator combinations, the linear regression resulted in R2 = 0.49. A weaker correlation (R2 = 0.11) was found using only data paired by subject/respirator combination where both the test subject and StAH had passed a real-time leak check before performing the fit evaluation. For six respirators, the difference in passing rates between the StAH and humans was < 20%, while two respirators showed a difference of 29% and 43%. For data by test subject, GM FF and GM MFF values were significantly different for 40% of the subjects. Overall, the advanced headform system has potential for assessing fit for some N95 FFR model/sizes.
Respirators; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Face-masks; Filters; Personal-protective-equipment; Statistical-analysis; Anthropometry; Humans; Simulation-methods; Testing-equipment; Physiological-measurements; Breathing; Air-purifying-respirators; Author Keywords: N95; filtering facepiece respirator; fit test; advanced headform
Ziqing Zhuang, Ph.D., National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Building 29, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T01-OH-008431; M102014
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Performing Organization
West Virginia University
Page last reviewed: September 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division