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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2012;9(8):517-23. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2012.695962.

Analysis of forces generated by n95 filtering facepiece respirator tethering devices: a pilot study.

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  • 1National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NPPTL, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236, USA.


The restorative forces of elasticized tethering devices on N95 filtering facepiece respirators (N95 FFR), that occur in response to the application of a load (applied force) during donning, create the requisite pressure to effectively seal the respirator against the face and prevent excessive inward migration of harmful elements. Many workers don and doff the same N95 FFR multiple times in the course of a single workday, yet little is known regarding the possible degradation of these restorative loads and, by implication, protection with multiple donnings. This laboratory pilot study evaluated the degradation in loads of tethering devices of three models of N95 FFRs subjected to the strain of five wear periods of 15 min interspersed with 15-min periods without wear. Data indicate that there were load degradations at each donning that differed significantly with the FFR model (p = <0.001), the greatest of which occurred with the first donning. The N95 FFR model with the lowest restorative loads was able to pass fit testing in a previous study, indicating that lower loads, perhaps coupled with FFR model-specific features, are sufficient to provide an adequate face/FFR interface seal. Tethering devices are importantly related to issues of comfort and protection afforded by N95 FFR and additional research is warranted.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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