FAQ on protective masks, medical masks and respirators / FFP2
What is the difference between FFP2- and KN95 masks?
KN95 masks and FFP2 masks are considered practically equivalent, with the difference that KN95 masks are certified according to Chinese standard GB2626, while FFP2 masks are certified according to European standard EN149. KN95 masks are required to provide 95% filtration efficiency against airborne particles and aerosols, while FFP2 masks must achieve 94% efficiency.
There is one significant difference: The EN149 test series for FFP2 masks includes a test that measures how much particles and aerosols do not escape through the mask, but at the edges of the mask where it rests on the face. This is called leakage. This is not tested on a KN95 mask. As a result, FFP2 masks often fit tighter to the face than KN95 masks when worn correctly.
Thus, the reasons for different labeling of certification can be attributed to the differences in the Asian and European standards. According to the EU communication from 16.03.2020, it is allowed to bring masks of the Asian standard into distribution due to the limitations of masks with European standard.
Which protective masks provide better protection; medical masks or respiratory masks?
The main purpose of medical masks is to protect other people - in medicine, to prevent the surgeon from exhaling bacteria that could enter the wound of the patient he is operating on. In the case of medical masks, bacterial filtration is measured - the size of the bacteria is 3 microns.
With FFP2/KN95 masks you protect yourself better than with medical masks. FFP2/KN95 masks measure particle filtration; with particles as small as 0.075 microns. Because FFP2/KN95 masks filter smaller particles (94% for particles < 0.075 microns), FFP2/KN95 masks protect more effectively against solid particles (dust, viruses, bacteria) and aqueous and oily aerosols, and therefore protect better against infection.
These mask types close the mouth-nose area particularly tightly. More than 94% of particles < 0.075 micrometers are filtered, i.e. also viruses, aerosols, bacteria and fine dust. Thus FFP2/KN95 and FFP3 offer better protection and are the only mask types that effectively protect against infection.
What means FFP?
FFP masks comes from English and means Filtering Face Piece. They are disposable masks that consist almost entirely of filtering material. They cover the nose and mouth and protect against solid particles (dust, viruses, bacteria) and aqueous and oily aerosols. Their protective function is standardized throughout Europe in accordance with EN 149. They are also known as particle-filtering half masks or fine dust masks and are divided into protection classes FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. FFP1 offers the weakest protection.
What are typical features of compliant FFP respirators?
Before using FFP respirators, pay attention to these points:
• The respirator is marked with the CE mark followed by a four-digit identification number of the notified body. Example: CE 1437
• The CE mark with the same number is printed on the packaging, as well as the standard designation EN 149:2001+A1:2009 and the address of a distributor in the EU or in Switzerland.
• A copy of the declaration of conformity is attached to the product. Or an internet address is given where the declaration of conformity can be accessed.
• The declaration of conformity shall refer to a type examination according to EN 149:2001+A1:2009.
• The same manufacturer and company address are indicated on the packaging and in the declaration of conformity.
• Instructions for use in the national languages are supplied with the mask.
If these points are not met, the quality of the masks is doubtful. In this case, their use as personal protective equipment for work with dust hazardous to health is not permitted.
Are the KN95 masks from Stöckli Medical safe?
The KN95 masks have been assessed by the FOPH as equivalent to the FFP2 masks, which are more widely used in the EU, according to "Regulation 3 on measures to combat coronavirus (Covid-19)". Although they are not subject 1:1 to the same regulations, we have ensured that the products comply with the relevant regulations and that the tests have been carried out correctly, are approved by a certified test laboratory and the tests are stored in their database in a compliant manner. From this regulatory and qualitative point of view, these masks are flawless.
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