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DETERMINATION OF KNOWN EXHALATION VALVE LEAKAGE USING THE RESPIFIT TM IRRITANT SMOKE TEST KIT

by SNYDER, ERIN MARIE

Abstract (Summary)
The goal of this study was to evaluate the ability to detect irritant smoke in the presence of a known exhalation valve leak using a RespiFit TM Respirator Qualitative Fit Test Kit. The OSHA protocol for the irritant smoke test mandates the use of a low flow air pump or aspirator squeeze bulb. Many commercial test kits include an aspirator bulb, which is subject to variation from depth of squeeze, fatigue and individual hand strength. The RespiFit TM is designed to prevent these variables by emitting a continuous smoke stream via a battery-operated pump. Twenty subjects wearing North 7600 series full-face respirators equipped with P100 filters were fit tested with a Portacount Plus to ensure adequate fit. The exhalation valve was replaced with a damaged valve and rotated approximately 90° as needed to produce a fit factor below 100. Having induced an exhalation valve leak, the irritant smoke test was performed using the OSHA irritant smoke protocol. The RespiFit TM did not detect 40% of respirators with leaking exhalation valves. Sixty percent of the subjects were able to detect the irritant smoke. Results of the ANSI Draft Z88.10 sensitivity calculation indicate that the irritant smoke test performed with the RespiFit TM did not meet the 95% criterion for identifying an inadequate fit. Of the 12 subjects that failed the smoke test, none detected the smoke in less than a minute; the average detection time was 3:05 minutes. Five subjects who detected the irritant smoke did so after suppressing a reaction. These subjects indicated an ability to ignore the effects of the irritant smoke for a period of time. Only one of the eight subjects who were instructed to break the face to face-piece seal after passing the fit test detected the irritant smoke. The remaining seven subjects did not detect the irritant smoke until given the second sensitivity test. These findings suggest that qualitative fit testing using an irritant smoke fit test with a 200 mL/min continuous flow pump does not have adequate sensitivity and should be substituted with a more sensitive method.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:respirator qualitative fit testing test methods

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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