Critical review of international standards for respiratory protective equipment - I. Respiratory protective equipment for particulate-laden atmospheres

Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1983 Oct;44(10):756-61. doi: 10.1080/15298668391405698.


The standards for respiratory protective equipment (R.P.E.) from eleven countries and standards organizations were grouped according to type as particulate removing, gas and vapor removing, airline (fresh air hose and compressed air types), and self-contained breathing apparatus (open circuit and closed circuit). Each group of standards was further divided into specification and performance requirements. This paper is one in a series of three that highlights and critically reviews international respirator standards; it deals specifically with R.P.E. for protection against particulate-laden atmospheres. Great Britain, Australia, European Committee for Standardization (CEN), France, South Africa, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Japan, and Germany have standards for R.P.E. against particulate-laden atmospheres. Tabular summaries and accompanying discussion of national requirements are presented in the following categories: solid and liquid aerosol removal efficiency, clogging, and rough usage. Large differences and some notable omissions exist among standards. For example, the protection capacity of the filter can be tested by using solid particulate or liquid challenge aerosols. The majority of the countries evaluate protection capacity using solid particulate aerosols, while the remainder use both solid and liquid or liquid aerosols only. Other differences in filter testing deal with the composition of the test aerosol and the characteristic of the filter measured. The initial penetration or the penetration of the filter as it is being loaded over a specified period of time can be measured. In the latter case penetration is averaged over the test period and the degree of protection is assessed only for that overall time period; information is not provided concerning the protection afforded by the filter in the earlier stages of use.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Particle Size
  • Protective Devices / standards*
  • Respiratory Protective Devices / standards*


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust