Background: Millions of people rely on N95 filtering facepiece respirators to reduce the risk of airborne particles and prevent them from respiratory infections. However, there are no respirator fit testing and training regulations in China. Meanwhile, no study has been conducted to investigate the fit of various respirators. The objective of this study was to investigate whether people obtained adequate fit when wearing N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) used widely in China.
Methods: Fifty adult participants selected using the Chinese respirator fit test panel donned 10 common models of N95 FFRs. Fit factors (FF) and inward leakage were measured using the TSI PortaCount Plus. Each subject was tested with three replications for each model. A subject was considered to pass the fit test when at least two of the three FFs were greater than 100. Two models were conducted fit tests before and after training to assess the role of training.
Results: The geometric mean FFs for each model and trained subjects ranged from <10 to 74.0. The fifth percentile FFs for only two individual respirator models were greater than 10 which is the expected level of performance for FFRs. The passing rates for these two models of FFRs were 44.7% and 20.0%. The passing rates were less than 10.0% for the other eight models. There were 27 (54%) participants who passed none of the 10 FFRs. The geometric mean FFs for both models when the subjects received training (49.7 and 74.0) were significantly larger than those when the same group of subjects did not receive any training (29.0 and 30.9) (P<0.05).
Conclusions: FFRs used widely in China should be improved according to Chinese facial dimensions. Respirator users could benefit from respirator training and fit testing before using respirators.