Racial differences in respirator fit testing: a pilot study of whether American fit panels are representative of Chinese faces

Ann Occup Hyg. 2007 Jun;51(4):415-21. doi: 10.1093/annhyg/mem005. Epub 2007 Mar 2.


The current respirator fit test panels (RFTPs) developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory or improved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health were based on facial anthropometric survey of American groups including few Chinese examples. Facial anthropometric dimensions for other race/ethnic groups are different. Despite the fact that China has been the largest national source of industrial labor supply, and Chinese is one of top 10 races for immigration to America and Britain, there have been few related facial anthropometric studies on RFTPs for Chinese. This pilot study was conducted to investigate the difference of facial anthropometric dimensions between Chinese and Americans, and whether American RFTPs are applicable to Chinese. The results show that facial anthropometric measurements of 461 Chinese subjects are different from those of American groups described in the literature. About 12-35% of the Chinese subjects fall outside the ranges derived from American panels. Chinese may have shorter and wider facial character than American groups. Current RFTPs, which are based on American facial anthropometric surveys, may not fairly represent the facial anthropometric characteristics of Chinese groups. The results can also help to construct new RFTPs for Chinese in the future. Further studies are needed to verify whether the results in this study would be in agreement with those of facial anthropometric survey in wider samples.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Asian People / genetics*
  • Data Collection
  • Equipment Design
  • Face / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Respiratory Protective Devices*