Centers for Public Health Education and Outreach

No Fit Test Respirator Research Workshop


View the detailed program agenda

Are innovations in half-mask respirator fit possible? What are the factors that inhibit or encourage development of better fitting respirators?

Sponsored by the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Sciences

Embassy Suites Airport
Pittsburgh PA

Registration is free but required.

This workshop will focus on the nature and process of product innovation and development in negative pressure half-facepiece respirators to gauge the current state of the art and to stimulate new designs or approaches for improved respirator fit. The results of this workshop will lead to a better understanding of how future NIOSH research can encourage on-going development of better fitting respirators without compromising long-term protection.

Define Fit

Explore and define fit for half-facepiece respirators:
-What anatomical or physiological features affect the fit of half-facepiece respirators?
-What role does comfort play in the fit of a respirator?
-Historically, what improvements have led to better fitting respirators?
-What role has fit testing played in the development of better fitting respirators?
-What features of current respirator design need further improvement?
-What requirements must be met for a no fit test respirator?

Market and User Needs

Identify the incentives and barriers for innovations in respirator design and the role respirator users play in encouraging and motivating design improvements:
-How have users been involved in the past and how will they be involved in the future in testing new respirator designs?
-Do respirator manufacturers understand the needs of current and future users?
-Are there barriers that prevent respirator manufacturers from responding quickly to user needs?
-Are users looking for improvements for which technology does not yet exist?

Scientific or Technologic Advances

Determine how scientific findings or new technologies can be encouraged in the future:
-What are the deficiencies in current respirator designs or fit testing methods that warrant changes or improved technologies?
-What current or new technologies are available for improving the fit of current respirator designs?
-What material properties are required to optimize fit and what materials exist today to optimize fit performance?
-Are technological improvements from other fields applicable to today's respirators?
-Are there research directions (e.g., new materials, anthropometrics, manufacturing techniques, etc.), fit test methods, or regulatory approaches that could encourage future scientific or technologic innovation?

Future Research Directions

Identify research directions that will alleviate current market, financial and regulatory pressures on respirator design:
-Do current regulatory, economic or political conditions prevent new innovations in respiratory protection?
-What are the current pressures affecting the pace of innovation in respirator design?
-What combination of regulation, research and manufacturer innovation might lead to more user friendly respirators in the future?

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