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Subjective Response to Respirator Type: Effect of Disease Status and Gender.

Harber, Philip MD, MPH; Santiago, Silverio MD; Wu, Samantha BS; Bansal, Siddharth MD; Liu, Yihang MD, MS; Yun, David BS

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181cfcf09
Original Articles

Objective: To assess the effect of respirator type and user characteristics (eg, health status) on the subjective response to respirator use.

Methods: The subjective responses for multiple domains were evaluated in 104 volunteers performing work tasks in a simulated work environment. Each used a dual cartridge half face mask and a filtering facepiece (N95) respirator. The study population was recruited to include four groups (normal respiratory status, mild asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or chronic rhinitis). Mixed model regression analyses determined the effects of respirator type, disease, gender, and age.

Results: Half face mask produced more adverse subjective response than the N95 for most scales. There were significant interactions such that disease status modified the effect of respirator type. In general, women reported greater adverse ratings than did men.

Conclusions: The effect of respirator type depends on disease status. Respirator design evaluation panels should include persons with mild respiratory disease.

Author Information

From the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Division (Dr Harber, Ms Wu, Dr Bansal, Dr Liu, Mr Yun), Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California at Los Angeles; and Division of Pulmonary Medicine (Dr Santiago), Department of Medicine, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, Calif.

Address correspondence to: Philip Harber, MD, MPH, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, UCLA, 10880 Wilshire, #1800, Los Angeles, CA 90024; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine