Alberto Baldelli This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,2,3, Andrew Poznikoff1,2, Kevin Heieis1,2,4, Robert Purdy1,2 

1 BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4, Canada
2 Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, The University of British Colombia, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z3, Canada
3 Faculty of Land and Food Systems, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
4 Department of Integrated Engineering, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada

Received: January 5, 2024
Revised: March 16, 2024
Accepted: March 18, 2024

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||  

  • Download: PDF

Cite this article:

Baldelli, A., Poznikoff, A., Heieis, K., Purdy, R. (2024). Evaluation of Personal Protective Equipment Using Low-cost Aerosol Monitors. Aerosol Air Qual. Res.


  • Most aerosols detected at 2, 4, and 6 feet were < 2.5 µm.
  • PM  of 0.3 and 10 µm showed a correlation (0.98).
  • With N95, the difference between the reference and low-cost sensors is 25%.
  • With surgical masks, the differences between the reference and low-cost sensors is 19%.
  • A linear correlation (coefficient of 0.78) was found between the two methods.


Rapid, low-cost evaluation of personal protective equipment (PPE) is important for providing widespread and easy-to-access testing of aerosols through and round masks and shields. Most related literature has focused on how well PPE protects the wearer, not reducing aerosol transmission to the environment. Few studies have compared the efficacy for particle escape at exhalation or inhalation of face masks and face shields. Measurements of particulate matter escaping through PPE could provide information regarding the efficacy on the wearer and on the surrounding of the PPE and guide the selection of appropriate PPE to wear in different conditions. Research grade particle technology devices are not widely available. Low-cost options which are simple to use may provide a practical alternative. In this study, we measured particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) emitted by a manikin placed upright at the head of a stretcher. Measurements were made using three low-cost sensors and an Optical Particle Sizer (OPS) at distances of 2, 4, and 6 feet repeated at 0, 45, and 90°, given at a horizontal plane, with respect to the mannikin. The low-cost sensors correlated well with the OPS used as a reference method and may provide a simple, low-cost, widely available alternative.

Keywords: Face masks, Face shields, Aerosol, Particulate matter, Social distancing, COVID-19

Share this article with your colleagues 


Subscribe to our Newsletter 

Aerosol and Air Quality Research has published over 2,000 peer-reviewed articles. Enter your email address to receive latest updates and research articles to your inbox every second week.

Aerosol and Air Quality Research (AAQR) is an independently-run non-profit journal that promotes submissions of high-quality research and strives to be one of the leading aerosol and air quality open-access journals in the world. We use cookies on this website to personalize content to improve your user experience and analyze our traffic. By using this site you agree to its use of cookies.