My fellowship took place at the turn of November and December 2017 at the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA), under the supervision of Christoph Thelen, Head of Personal Protective Equipment against Chemical and Biological Substances Unit. It was preceded by a preparatory seminar attended by colleagues from IFA in CIOP-PIB laboratories that was held on November 8. The topic of the exchange was related to the scope of the research task on the analysis of the phenomena associated with the odorous compounds capture in flat polymer-carbon structures in dynamic conditions.
The main objective of the exchange was to facilitate the development of quantitative tools for the evaluation of breakthrough time of small-capacity polymer/adsorbent composites used in the construction of disposable filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) that minimise irritating odours. Such respirators are not marketed as the equipment providing respiratory protection against vapours or gases and may be used only below applicable exposure limits. Despite the large variety of available models of such FFRs, their protective properties against odorous compounds are rarely evaluated. Therefore, together with IFA’s research team, we designed a preliminary testing methodology and initiated an experiment with over 100 test rounds that is now continued in our respective Institutes to contribute to the future evaluation method.
Moreover, PEROSH Research Exchange Fellowship program turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to further develop my knowledge and understanding of respiratory protection against chemical hazards and share professional experience with colleagues from the immediate field, which will hopefully lead to a long-lasting research collaboration.