Indexed on: 15 Mar '06Published on: 15 Mar '06Published in: Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigators evaluated filtration efficiencies at three U.S. Postal Service (USPS) facilities. Ventilation and filtration systems (VFSs) had been installed after the 2001 bioterrorist attacks when the USPS unknowingly processed letters laden with B. anthracis spores. The new VFS units included high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and were required by USPS contract specifications to provide an overall filtration efficiency of at least 99.97% for particles between 0.3 microm and 3.0 micro m. The USPS evaluation involved a modification of methodology used to test total filtration system efficiency in agricultural tractor cab enclosures. The modified sampling strategy not only proved effective for monitoring the total filtration system component of VFS performance but also distinguished between filtration systems performing to the high USPS performance criteria and those needing repair or replacement. The results clearly showed the importance of choosing a pair of optical particle counters that have been closely matched immediately prior to testing. The modified methodology is readily adaptable to any workplace wishing to evaluate air filtration systems, including high-efficiency systems.