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Am J Ind Med. 2011 Aug;54(8):628-36. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20970. Epub 2011 May 18.

Infrared imaging for leak detection of N95 filtering facepiece respirators: a pilot study.

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  • 1National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. dtn0@cdc.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study was undertaken to determine the utility of an infrared camera (IRC) for assessing leaks around filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) during quantitative respirator fit testing.

METHODS:

Eight subjects underwent quantitative fit testing on six N95 FFR models (48 total fit tests) while simultaneously being recorded with an IRC.

RESULTS:

The IRC detected 49 exhalation leaks during 39 tests and no leaks in nine tests. Exhalation leaks were identified in all failed fit tests (13) and a majority (26 of 35) of passed tests. Anatomically, the nasal region and malar (cheekbone) regions accounted for 71% of identified leak sites. Fit factors for fit tests without identified exhalation leaks were significantly higher than fit tests with leaks detected by IRC (P = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Thermal imaging using IRC can detect leaks in respiratory protective equipment and has the potential as a screening tool for assessment of the adequacy of post-donning FFR fit.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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