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Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1992 Nov;53(11):705-12.

Review of respirator performance testing in the workplace: issues and concerns.

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  • 13M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division, St. Paul, MN 55144.


Performance capability of respirators has traditionally been evaluated by testing components of the respirator (e.g., filter efficiency), facepiece fit, total inward leakage, or some other measure of performance evaluated under laboratory conditions. In recent years, increased emphasis has been placed on development of test methods suitable for evaluating respirator performance in the workplace. The goal of such testing is to evaluate the level of protection provided by respirators in the work environment. The AIHA Respiratory Protection Committee believes that workplace testing of respirators has the potential to be an excellent tool for increasing knowledge about the effectiveness of respiratory protection. However, a number of technical issues remain to be addressed before optimal test protocols and data analysis methods can be defined. The progress made to date in workplace testing will be reviewed, and broader discussion about key elements that must be considered when developing guidelines for testing respirators in the workplace will be initiated.

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