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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 2016, Article ID 8572493, 12 pages
Research Article

Particle Size-Selective Assessment of Protection of European Standard FFP Respirators and Surgical Masks against Particles-Tested with Human Subjects

1Department of Environmental Engineering and Science, Feng Chia University, Taichung 40724, Taiwan
2Division of Occupational Hygiene, Institute of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health, Ministry of Labor, New Taipei City 22143, Taiwan
3Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Nanomedicine, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli 35053, Taiwan

Received 1 June 2015; Revised 1 February 2016; Accepted 15 February 2016

Academic Editor: Saverio Affatato

Copyright © 2016 Shu-An Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study was conducted to investigate the protection of disposable filtering half-facepiece respirators of different grades against particles between 0.093 and 1.61 μm. A personal sampling system was used to particle size-selectively assess the protection of respirators. The results show that about 10.9% of FFP2 respirators and 28.2% of FFP3 respirators demonstrate assigned protection factors (APFs) below 10 and 20, which are the levels assigned for these respirators by the British Standard. On average, the protection factors of FFP respirators were 11.5 to 15.9 times greater than those of surgical masks. The minimum protection factors (PFs) were observed for particles between 0.263 and 0.384 μm. No significant difference in PF results was found among FFP respirator categories and particle size. A strong association between fit factors and protection factors was found. The study indicates that FFP respirators may not achieve the expected protection level and the APFs may need to be revised for these classes of respirators.