Respirator masks protect health but impact performance: a review

J Biol Eng. 2016 Feb 9;10:4. doi: 10.1186/s13036-016-0025-4. eCollection 2016.


Respiratory protective masks are used whenever it is too costly or impractical to remove airborne contamination from the atmosphere. Respirators are used in a wide range of occupations, form the military to medicine. Respirators have been found to interfere with many physiological and psychological aspects of task performance at levels from resting to maximum exertion. Many of these limitations have been investigated in order to determine quantitatively how much performance decrement can be expected from different levels of respirator properties. The entire system, including respirator and wearer interactions, must be considered when evaluating wearer performances. This information can help respirator designers to determine trade-offs or managers to plan to compensate for reduced productivity of wearers.

Keywords: Anxiety; Communications; Exercise; Heart; Heat; Respiration; Vision.

Publication types

  • Review