Impact of the NBC Clothing Ensemble on Respiratory Function and Capacities During Rest and Exercise [open pdf - 3MB]
This study examined the effects of wearing a modified MOPP (mMOPP) over garment (Protective Clothing, PC), configured with body armor (BA), Load Bearing Equipment (LBE), and M40 CB mask on the pattern and mechanics of breathing and cognitive functioning in 15 male soldiers at rest and during sustained sub-maximal exercise (approx. 600 W). The M40 CB mask reduced breathing capacity 20%, and the PC+BA+LBE components of the mMOPP reduced it 5%. Total respiratory system compliance decreased by 16% in the mMOPP. Thus, wearing the PC+BA+LBE increased the "stiffness" of the soldier's respiratory system. During exercise, the mMOPP decreased tidal volume and increased respiratory rate, a compensation for the decreased respiratory system compliance. Although the M40 CB mask imposes a significant impairment to breathing, the PC with BA and LBE presents a unique external constraint on breathing, which may be more aversive than that imposed by the CB mask. These impairments may be reduced by wearing BA and LBE that are properly fitted over the PC and incorporating, in future designs, enhancements that allow for outward expansion of the PC, BA or LBE with inhalation.