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