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Protection of Firefighters against Combustion Aerosol Particles: Simulated Workplace Protection Factor of a Half-Mask Respirator
Filetype[PDF - 403.04 KB]


Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    25625543
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4610121
  • Funding:
    CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
    T42-OH008432/OH/NIOSH CDC HHS/United States
  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Description:
    The present pilot study investigated the penetration of ultrafine particles originated by combustion of different materials into elastomeric half-mask respirators equipped with two P100 filters. We determined the Simulated Workplace Protection Factor (SWPF) for 11 firefighters wearing elastomeric half-mask respirators and performing activities simulating those conducted during fire overhaul operations. The tests were performed in a controlled laboratory setting. A newly-developed battery-operated Portable Aerosol Mobility Spectrometer (PAMS) was used to measure size-resolved aerosol particle concentrations outside (C(out)) and inside (Cin) of an air-purifying respirator donned on a firefighter, and the SWPF was calculated as C(out)/C(in). Based on the total aerosol concentration, the "total" SWPF ranged from 4,222 (minimum) to 35,534 (maximum) with values falling primarily in a range from 11,171 (25 percentile) to 26,604 (75 percentile) and a median value being ≈15,000. This is consistent with the recently reported fit factor (FF) data base.((1)) The size-resolved SWPF data revealed a dependency on the particle size. It was concluded that a portable device such as PAMS can be used on firefighters during overhaul operations (as well as on other workers wearing elastomeric half-mask respirators) to monitor the aerosol concentrations in real time and ultimately help prevent overexposure.