In a time of limited resources, it’s important to ensure that all the PPE you use fits properly. One important way to do this is to perform a face seal check. But not everyone has access to medical professionals for this purpose, so it is also helpful for people to be able to do their own face seal test at home.
While the flat fold respirator of a respirator is dependent on its filtration capability, it is ultimately determined by the quality of the face/FFR interface, which is highly dependent on both face shape and pressures generated by the FFR tethering devices (e.g., straps, bands). Discontinuities at the face/FFR interface are responsible for the majority of inward leakage of contaminants, and were found to be 3-5 times greater than filter penetration in a recent study.
All You Need to Know About Flat Fold Respirators: Features, Benefits, and Best Practices
Masks that don’t fit well are uncomfortable and can cause a number of health problems including skin irritation. In addition, wearing tight fitting cup-style N95 respirators for long periods of time can lead to red marks on the face, and some essential workers develop dermatitis triggered by friction from non-woven meltblown fabric against their skin.
In contrast, the soft material of flat fold masks naturally contours to the face, and produces lower pressures that are more comfortable. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene found that more individuals passed their own face seal tests wearing flat fold masks than molded cup-shaped N95 FFRs.