What are the characteristics of FFP masks?
FFP masks are personal safety equipment designed to protect the wearer from particles and the various substances, viruses or bacteria present in the ambient air by filtering it. Unlike the mask of other types whose purpose is above all to protect others, here the goal is to protect the wearer.
Traditionally, FFP masks are used by doctors, nurses and other people working in hospitals to protect themselves from respiratory infections, but also for all people working in environments exposing them to fine particles (wood dust, or asbestos). for example).
The different classes of FFP masks
FFP masks are divided into three categories, according to their effectiveness (estimated according to the effectiveness of the filter and the leaks occurring in the face):
- The FFP1 mask filters at least 80% of particles with a size of 0.6 µm.
- The FFP2 mask filters at least 94% of particles with a size of 0.6 µm
- The FFP3 mask filters at least 99% of particles with a size of 0.6 µm
Class FFP1 masks
Class 1 protective masks, known as FFP1 masks, are dust masks that can protect the body against dust and other unpleasant or annoying particles. However, it cannot protect its wearer against possible toxic particles that would be suspended in the air.
Therefore, it is mainly used by people with moderate allergies in order to decrease the amount of allergen particles that these people breathe (such as pollen or seeds in the air in spring. It can also be very useful for protection. during a sandstorm or various dust storms, by stopping the majority of sand particles suspended in the air (mask therefore recommended for walks in a desert for example).
Many people wearing an FFP1 mask daily to work, especially in the construction industry and construction, an environment where there is a lot of dust, which in high doses can be harmful to the body, and which generated the wearer . It is also used in the field of cleaning, glass making or pottery.
Conversely, personal safety equipment of the FFP1 type cannot be used in a hospital environment, because it would not protect staff sufficiently effectively against viruses and other bacteria in suspension in the air. These masks are not sufficient to avoid possible contamination of the person wearing them.
FFP2 class masks
Of the three classes of masks bearing the designation FFP, the FFP2 type masks are the most widely used. The equivalent America standard of mask is N95, and the equivalent Chinese standard is KN95. It is for this reason, a certain number of FFP2 masks that you will find in France are KN95 masks, on which is added an FFP2 marking following the realization of a test to verify their property for a notified body (the organizations notified are the bodies approved by the European Commission to verify the conformity of a product with European standards).
FFP2 masks filter at least 94% of particulate matter in the air with a median size of 0.6 µm.
The main use of FFP2 class masks is to allow their wearer not to be contaminated by possible viruses or bacteria in the air (such as the seasonal flu virus, coronaviruses - whether SARS or n-covid198 more recently, the gate bacteria, various animal bacteria, etc.). The purpose of an FFP2 mask is to protect the wearer from intrusion into the body through the respiratory tract of these pathogens.
Like the FFP1 class mask, it is also used in construction and industry to protect against airborne particles in these environments. However, it is not sufficient to protect the wearer against the most toxic particles, such as asbestos, which requires an even more protective mask.
FFP3 class masks
FFP3 masks, or Class 3 personal safety equipment, filter at least 98% of airborne particles.
Of all the FFP personal protective equipment, it is the most filtering mask, but this is not only an advantage, because it is also the most restrictive mask to wear, due to its very important filtration of air which makes it very difficult to breathe.
Therefore, it is not recommended for anyone performing physical activity (including walking), or the elderly or with medical conditions.
The difficulty in breathing when wearing an FFP3 mask is the reason for its current very low use. In fact, the cost-benefit ratio tilts against it in most situations, especially since wearing such a mask can lead the wearer to remove it from time to time to catch his breath, which is totally counterproductive for the desired effect.
It is simply used for people who are exposed to very fine, toxic particles, including asbestos, or certain very specific medical procedures that generate aerosols, such as endotracheal intubation.
These masks are very difficult to find for their general public and their cost is prohibitive.
European standards defining the three different classes of FFP mask
The European standard EN 143 defines the different classes of FFP masks, according to their filtration rate of particles suspended in the air. In 2009, a new standard governing FFP masks was published, their official dominions changed to now be "particle filter mask". A distinction has also been made between masks that cannot be reused, qualified as NR for “non-reusable” (by far the most common) and masks that can be reused, qualified as “R” for reusable).
Before being able to sell FFP-type masks, each mask is subjected to a test which must be carried out by a body approved at European level (the body having to be authorized to perform the tests for the product category "Personal equipment of protection ”). A laboratory test of each mask is carried out in order to verify their technical specificity and their compliance with EN149: 2001 + A1: 2009 standards.
Equivalence with the standards of other countries for FFP2 masks
The performances of the following masks are very similar for the filtration of microorganisms:
- masks obeying the FFP2 standard (European regulation EN 149)
- masks obeying the N95 standard (American regulation NIOSH 42C-FR84)
- masks obeying the Korea 1 st Class standard (South Korean regulation KMOEL -2017-64)
- masks obeying the KN95 standard (Chinese regulation GB2626-2006)
- masks obeying the DS2 standard (Japanese regulation JMHLW-2000)
Due to the shortage of FFP2 masks following the coronavirus crisis, the governments of several European countries have authorized the import and use of these masks equivalent to FFP2 masks. This is particularly the case for Spain, Germany and Italy, depending on the terms specific to each country.
Buy your FFP2 masks online
You can visit our online store to find lots of FFP2 masks, useful for protecting you against viruses and bacteria in the air as we have seen above. In the context of a new variant of the coronavirus, which is more contagious, the use of FFP2 masks is more relevant than ever, and some countries have decided to make them mandatory.
We are a French company and all our masks are delivered quickly from our premises in the Paris region. In addition to mainland France, we can also deliver to other European countries.
You can benefit from a 10% reduction on your order thanks to the promotional code MASQUEFFP2. And of course, we remain at your disposal if you have any questions.