PPE and Respirators
PPE or personal protective equipment with regard to respirators can be divided into full face and half or orinasal, disposable and reusable. The disposable respirator PPE mask FFP2-3 OR N95-98 can usually provide filtration down to .3 of a micron but significantly even the best manufacturer usually only tests down to .5 of a micron. The efficiency of the filters is not questioned however the fit testing and working use must cast considerable doubt on the efficiency of any respirator used as PPE against biological agents or virus. All PPE has recognised standards known as Nominal protection factors usually provided by the manufacturers but these statistics have been radically slashed by government laboratories who now publish APF Assigned protection factors. The CDC centre of disease control has published data on respirators used by health care professionals in the SARS epidemic in 2003. They state that where the professional health care workers who wore this type of PPE came into contact with infected patients they too caught the disease. The problem was in fit, leakage and general use issues. Alternatives which provide far greater protection are now recognised as moving away from face seals to neck seals.