My name is Judy Hudnall and I am a physical
scientist. I have been at NIOSH for 31 years. The last approximately 6 years I have been
in respirator research. This is the total inward leakage laboratory, where we measure
the total leakage through various types of respirators. This laboratory is set up with
two exposure chambers, one is a corn oil chamber and the other is a sodium chloride chamber.
We are also set up so we can do sulfur hexafluoride, which each of these aerosols is used in fit
testing. So the filtration media has been characterized, as far as leakage through the
media, but what we don’t know is leakage around the face seal of various respirators.
So that is what we are testing in here to find out just how much exposure a worker will
actually get in the workplace. Today, we are testing a person who is going to be wearing
a filtering facepiece respirator and we are going to be measuring the leak around the
face seal and we’ll do that by measuring the concentration of the aerosol inside of
the mask and outside. So you will see the person wearing the mask, and it is probed
so that we can take a sample from inside the mask. So when the test subject completes the
port-a-count test, he enters the corn oil chamber and he will walk on the treadmill
for approximately 2 minutes, and then he will step off the treadmill and he’ll do another
series of exercises that involve head movements, he gets back on the treadmill at a faster
pace, walks for another 2 minutes, then he’ll exit that chamber and go to the other chamber
without changing his respirator. He’ll hook up and he will repeat all of those same exercises
once again. You will also see a mask hanging in the sodium chloride chamber, which will
be taking our ambient sample. We have completed almost 60 of our human tests and we are hoping
that this data will help us to determine if we can adopt the international standards for
facepiece fit testing.
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