The International Society for Respiratory Protection

pdf Vol. 32. No. 2. 2015 pp. 50 - 64 Bergman (open access) Popular

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Fit Assessment of N95 Filtering-Facepiece Respirators in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Strategic National Stockpile

Michael Bergman, Ziqing Zhuang, Elizabeth Brochu, and Andrew Palmiero

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved N95 filtering-facepiece respirators (FFR) are currently stockpiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for emergency deployment to healthcare facilities in the event of a widespread emergency such as an influenza pandemic. This study assessed the fit of N95 FFRs purchased for the CDC Strategic National Stockpile. The study addresses the question of whether the fit achieved by specific respirator sizes relates to facial size categories as defined by two NIOSH fit test panels. Fit test data were analyzed from 229 test subjects who performed a nine-donning fit test on seven N95 FFR models using a quantitative fit test protocol. An initial respirator model selection process was used to determine if the subject could achieve an adequate fit on a particular model; subjects then tested the adequately fitting model for the nine-donning fit test. Only data for models which provided an adequate initial fit (through the model selection process) for a subject were analyzed for this study. For the nine-donning fit test, six of the seven respirator models accommodated the fit of subjects (as indicated by geometric mean fit factor > 100) for not only the intended NIOSH bivariate and PCA panel sizes corresponding to the respirator size, but also for other panel sizes which were tested for each model. The model which showed poor performance may not be accurately represented because only two subjects passed the initial selection criteria to use this model. Findings are supportive of the current selection of facial dimensions for the new NIOSH panels. The various FFR models selected for the CDC Strategic National Stockpile provide a range of sizing options to fit a variety of facial sizes.

Keywords: Respirator Fit, N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators, Strategic National Stockpile, Respirator Fit Test Panel.