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Background: In South Africa, respiratory protective equipment is often the primary control method used to protect workers. This preliminary study investigated how well a common disposable P2 respirator fitted persons with a range of facial dimensions. Methods: Quantitative respirator fit tests were performed on 29 volunteers from different racial, gender and face size groups. Two facial dimensions width (bizygomatic) and length (menton-sellion) were measured for all participants. Results: In this study 13.8% of the participants demonstrated a successful fit with the medium sized mask. These included participants from three different racial and both gender groups. The large percentage of failed fit tests (86%) indicates that reliance on off-the-shelf respirators could be problematic in South Africa. Conclusions: The limitations of this preliminary study notwithstanding, respirator fit appear to be associated with individual facial characteristics and are not specific to racial/ethnic or gender characteristics.

This is one reason why I think the Totobobo mask is so useful. It is much easier to modify the mask to fit different faces. The Totobobo mask really needs to be tested in a place like Alaska where we have faces from many different populations. See the Flickr set at Respirators masks for pandemics, volcanoes, dust, woodworking, cycling

poorly fitted respirator on TV news person

Primary entry about respirators is Masks — Types, Choosing (PPE)

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