Impact of multiple consecutive donnings on filtering facepiece respirator fit

Am J Infect Control. 2012 May;40(4):375-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 Aug 23.


Background: A concern with reuse of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-certified N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) is that multiple donnings could stress FFR components, impairing fit. This study investigated the impact of multiple donnings on the facepiece fit of 6 N95 FFR models using a group of 10 experienced test subjects per model.

Methods: The TSI PORTACOUNT Plus and N95 Companion accessory were used for all tests. After qualifying by passing a standard Occupational Safety and Health Administration fit test, subjects performed up to 20 consecutive tests on an individual FFR sample using a modified protocol. Regression analyses were performed for the percentage of donnings resulting in fit factors (FFs) ≥100 for all 6 FFR models combined.

Results: Regression analyses showed statistical significance for donning groups 1-10, 1-15, and 1-20. The mean percentage of donnings with an FF ≥100 was 81%-93% for donning group 1-5, but dropped to 53%-75% for donning group 16-20.

Conclusions: Our results show that multiple donnings had a model-dependent impact on fit for the 6 N95 models evaluated. The data suggest that 5 consecutive donnings can be performed before FFs consistently drop below 100.

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Failure Analysis*
  • Equipment Reuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Filtration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health
  • Respiratory Protective Devices*