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May 23, 2012 91 Views

Since the beginning of RAECO Rents, the most frequently rented instrument has been the TSI PortaCount quantitative respirator fit testing system. And with those frequent rentals come the two very common questions. What equipment do I need to do a fit test? And what's a Fit Factor?

Question 1: What equipment do I need to do a fit test?
Answer: You need (1) the TSI PortaCount fit testing system, (2) your own masks, and (3) mask adapters that connect your individual mask type to the PortaCount.
To fit test disposable masks, you don’t need any special adapter, just the sample push probes that come with the TSI 8038 kit. You can buy mask adapters from RAECO Rents and keep them for your annual tests. We also have a few of the most popular mask adapters available for rent for $10 per day or $30 per week. Including adapters to fit 3M, Avon, North, Scott, and Survivair masks.
Question 2: What’s a Fit Factor? And which fit factor “pass value” should I use for my tests?
Answer: Fit factor is a numeric estimate of the fit of a particular respirator or mask to a specific person. It gives a ratio of the concentration of a substance in ambient air to the concentration that leaks into the respirator or mask during testing. When you’re talking about fit factors and the PortaCount system, it’s the calculation the fit testing system makes during the simulation exercise.
Fit Factor = Concentration of challenge aerosol outside the respirator Aerosol concentration that leaks into the respirator during the test.
Testers use the fit factor as “numeric proof” to show (a) that the person is using the proper mask for their face shape, and (b) that they can put the mask on repeatedly and achieve the same fit results. It gives repeatable, quantitative evidence that a user is properly protected in a hazardous environment. OSHA requires that people wearing full face respirators must be able to minimally achieve a Fit Factor of 500 or better. For half face masks, the fit factor must be 100 or above. These numbers are the default fit factor pass values used by the TSI PortaCount Pro 8030 and PortaCount Pro+ 8038 systems. Your specific industry may have more strict requirements, and require a higher fit factor. The reason so many organizations that use masks choose the TSI PortaCount is that the quantitative fit testing system is capable of measuring fit factors of 10,000 and higher. The qualitative testing systems, those that use Bitrex or Saccharine, can only achieve a fit factor of 100 at best.

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