Evaluation of particulate filtering respirators using inward leakage (IL) or total inward leakage (TIL) testing--Korean experience

Ann Occup Hyg. 2005 Oct;49(7):569-74. doi: 10.1093/annhyg/mei034. Epub 2005 Aug 26.


Korean certification regulation for particulate filtering respirators requires inward leakage (IL) or total inward leakage (TIL) testing according to European Standard EN 13274-1, and the standard levels of compliance are similar to those of the European Standard. This study was conducted to evaluate particulate filtering respirators being commercially used in the Korean market using an IL or TIL test and the validity of standard level in Korea. Three half masks and 10 filtering facepieces (two top class, four 1st class and four 2nd class)-a total of 13 brand name respirators-were selected for the test with panels of 10 subjects. Each subject was classified with nine facial dimension grid squares in accordance with face length and lip length. IL or TIL testing was conducted at the laboratory of the 3M Innovation Center in which the experimental instruments and systems were established in compliance with European standards. The testing procedure followed EN 13274-1 (2001). As expected, leakages of half masks were less than those of filtering facepieces and the latter were significantly different among brands. TILs of the 1st class filtering facepieces were found to be much more than those of the 2nd class and the result may cause a wearer to get confused when selecting a mask. The main route leakage for filtering facepieces may not be the filter medium but the face seal. Therefore, it is necessary to develop well-fitting filtering facepieces for Koreans. Because leakages were significantly different for different facial dimensions, a defined test panel for IL or TIL testing according to country or race should be developed. A more precise method to demonstrate fit, for example, fit testing such as in the US regulations, will be needed before IL or TIL testing or when selecting a respirator. Another finding implies that geometric mean of five exercises for IL or TIL may be better than arithmetic mean to establish a standard individual subject mean.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Korea
  • Licensure
  • Masks
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Reference Standards
  • Respiratory Protective Devices / standards*