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by Jessica Chen, TSI Beijing
Beijing You'an Hospital recently received its order for PortaCount Plus® Respirator Fit Testing equipment. TSI experts arrived onsite to conduct training on testing procedures and software installation for their medical staff. In addition to learning about fit testing, the hospital personnel took the opportunity to discuss the Chinese standard, GB19083-2010, which applies to medical facemasks.
GB19083-2010, Technical requirements for protective face mask for medical use, is a standard originally proposed by the China Food and Drug Administration. It applies to manufacturing, testing, identifying, packaging, transporting, and storing protective facemasks for medical use.
GB19083-2010 is applicable to medical facemasks that "can filter airborne particles and block droplets, blood, body fluids, secretions, etc. under medical work settings." A typical example of this kind of mask is an N95 or FFP3.
PortaCount® Respirator Fit Tester is designed for quantitative fit testing of N95 and other types of respirators. Regulations that apply to N95 respirators are more stringent than those that apply to surgical masks and some other types of disposable masks. Annex B of GB19083-2010 requires quantitative fit testing to calculate fit factor— the ratio of the measured average concentrations of particles outside and inside the face mask.
Quantitative fit testing is an objective and accurate measurement of a facemask’s fit and seal to a wearer’s face. The PortaCount instrument uses an animated display to guide staff through a series of movements for each test exercise, which helps identify respirators that fit poorly. In addition to finding a respirator that fits properly, employees learn to put on, take off, and wear their respirators properly during testing. The PortaCount fit tester measures particles, calculating the fit factor, throughout the testing process.
The only way to ensure that an N95 respirator is suitable for the wearer and can provide the required protection is to conduct the fit test correctly. Quantitative fit testing with PortaCount is also the best option for organizations seeking to comply with GB19083-2010 and similar standards and regulations.
Even as the pandemic is slowing, respirator use will continue to be an important tool for preventing the transmission of infectious diseases. TSI will continue to support Beijing You'an Hospital in their work to keep their staff and patients safe.