Face anthropometry for filtering facepiece respirators: Analysis of the association between facial dimensions and respirator fit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Ensuring proper respirator fit for individuals remains a persistent challenge in occupational environments, yet there is limited knowledge about how respirators interact with the face to "'fit."Previous studies have attempted to understand the association between face dimensions and respirator fit using traditional head/face anthropometry not specifically tailored for respirators. The purpose of this study was to assess and compare the ability of filtering facepiece respirator (FFR)-specific face anthropometry with traditional head/face anthropometry in exploring the relationship between facial dimensions and the fit of FFR. Methods: The study utilized 3D face scans and quantitative fit factor scores from 56 participants to investigate the relationship between face anthropometry and FFR fit. Both FFR-specific and traditional anthropometric measurements were obtained through 3D anthropometric software. Intra-correlation of anthropometry was analyzed to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of FFR-specific and traditional anthropometry respectively. Principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted to test the usefulness of the PCA method for investigating various facial features. Logistic regression was used to develop fit association models by estimating the relationship between each face measurement set and the binary outcome of the fit test result. The prediction accuracy of the developed regression models was tested. Results: FFR-specific face anthropometry consists of a set of measurements that can inform the detailed facial shape associated with the FFRs more effectively than traditional head/face anthropometry. While PCA may have been effective in reducing the variable dimensions for the relatively large parts of the human body such as upper and lower bodies in previous literature, PCA results of FFR-specific and traditional anthropometry were inconsistent and insufficient to describe face dimensions with complex anatomy in a small-detailed area, suggesting that facial shape should be understood through a variety of approaches including statistical methods. Logistic regression analysis results confirmed that the association models of FFR-specific face anthropometry were significant with higher prediction accuracy and had a better model's goodness of fit than those of traditional head/face anthropometry in 3 conditions inputting all measurements, all PC scores, or top 5 measurements from PCA. Conclusions: The findings showed that the FFR fit association model enables an understanding of the detailed association between face and respirator fit and allows for the development of a system to predict respirator fit success or failure based on facial dimensions. Future research would include testing the validity of the model and FFR-specific measurement set on different respirator types, expanding the population set, and developing an integrated approach using automated and machine learning technologies to inform FFR selection for occupation workers and the general population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-324
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society.


  • face anthropometry
  • regression analysis
  • respirator fit
  • respirator fit prediction

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Face anthropometry for filtering facepiece respirators: Analysis of the association between facial dimensions and respirator fit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this