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Performance Evaluation of Full Facepiece Respirators with Cartridges
Shu-An Lee1, Yen-Lung Chen1, Dong-Chir Hwang1, Chih-Chao Wu1, Jen-Kun Chen2,3
1 Department of Environmental Engineering and Science, Feng Chia University, Taichung 40724, Taiwan
2 Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Nanomedicine, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli 35053, Taiwan
3 Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei 11490, Taiwan
- Particle penetration in charcoal cartridges increased with increasing air intake.
- DOP particles penetrated more than NaCl particles.
- FFs rather than facial dimension significantly correlated with PFs.
- Protection of FFRs against particles in nano-sized range might not be sufficient.
Full facepiece respirators (FFRs) with charcoal cartridges are very common wearable devices for industrial or military purposes preventing respiratory tract, face, eyes, and mouth from hazards exposure. However, related research for performance evaluation was rare. We aimed to use a self-developed testing system investigating (1) filtration efficiency (FE) of aerosols in charcoal cartridges; (2) breakthrough time of cyclohexane in charcoal cartridges; (3) fit factors (FFs) and (4) protection factors (PFs) of FRRs. The results showed that FE of charcoal cartridges against 0.3 µm of sodium chloride (NaCl) and dioctyl phthalate (DOP) particles under 85 L min–1 were 99.93% and 99.89%, respectively, which did not meet the standard 99.97% regulated for filters such as P100 and HEPA. As for 42.5 L min–1 condition (dual canisters), the FE against NaCl (99.97%) did meet the requirement set for HEPA (99.97%); however, that against DOP (99.95%) failed to meet the standard. In addition, the breakthrough time of 3000ppm cyclohexane was 31 min under 32 L min–1, which was longer than the 30 min standard described in CNS6636 Z2023 and JIS8152. As to the results of fit test among 21 subjects, only 1 failed to meet the requirement (fit factor = 500) and the average of fit factors was 8342 ± 5892. The mean value of protection factors was 112.3 ± 54.6 while 3 users had lower PFs than the assigned protection factor (APF = 50) regulated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). APFs obtained for particles less than 100 nm were smaller than the APF standard regulated by OSHA, indicating APF standards may be overestimated for such particle size. Therefore, users should be aware of potential risks caused by such substances in nano-sized scale (e.g., nanoparticles or viruses) when wearing FFRs.
Respirator; Full mask; Cartridge; Filtration; Protection; Fit factor.