What is Differences between FFP2 and FFP3 face masks
FFP3 degree defense is the highest grading offered in the European Union for disposable APRs (Air Purifying Respirators) in the EN149 class. FFP3 face masks provide 99% particle filtration efficiency and is the EU’s close equal to the United States NIOSH N99.
FFP3 provides an Assigned Protection Factor of 20 x OEL and a Nominal Safeguard Factor of 50 x OEL.
FFP2 gives an Assigned Protection Factor of 10 x OEL and a Nominal Security Factor of 12.5 x OEL. FFP2 masks give 95% particle filtration efficiency and is the EU’s close comparable to the American NIOSH N95.
OEL stands for Occupational Exposure Limits and is the limit on the amount or concentration of a chemical to that laborers may be exposed.
Assigned Protection Factor – because laboratory performance may not be achievable in real use the figures are taken from BS4275 and are the minimum level of protection calculated for 94% of trained wearers using the equipment in the workplace.
Nominal Protection Factor is the minimum degree of security the devices needs to show under lab conditions to gain approval to the appropriate class of the performance standard.
Because there are no exposure limits established for biological agents (foe example covid-19) it is important to bear in mind that it might not be guaranteed that selecting a disposable respirator type FFP3 Respirators will make respiratory infection impossible.
Essentially FFP3 face masks are capable of filtering out finer particles than FFP2 and can handle higher volumes of hazard.
What is FFP3 face masks
FFP3 level is the highest degree available and the one mentioned more recently by the UK Government’s Health Protection Agency. It is necessary to note however that they are generally referring to the defense that health laborers should put on when taking care of an infected person rather than advising FFP3 Respirators for the general population. Having said that, should a covid-19 pandemic strike it seems sensible to assume that those protective measures recommended by government agencies for medical staff would also be relevant for the general public. No official statements actually go so far as to say this in the UK (so far as we have seen), however it seems obvious that infection control procedures would be similar regardless of the environment they are employed in.
The FFP3 face mask clearly has a much more strong filtering capability (based on the OEL figures mentioned above) than the FFP2 face mask. In light of the lack of conclusive answers in terms of which face mask is best for the job and the high mortality rate likely to arise from a bird flu pandemic should it occur, we would take the view that it would be wise to go with the top performer and choose the FFP3. we would certainly also want to go for the one that was made by a reputable vendor. Having said that, and based upon the potential need to use 2 – 4 masks throughout 1 day, the FFP3 mask might be cost prohibitive for a few. This being the case the FFP2 face mask may be taken into consideration as some designs have been verified to supply robust filtration of ‘certain’ bacteria. The smaller the virus particle the harder it is to be filtered out and it is estimated that the bird flu virus will be around 0.1 microns in size which is quite small even in micro-organism terms (the average human hair is 40 microns).
In order for a disposable face mask respirator to be worn comfortably for a medium length of time it is generally approved that a valve should exist. FFP3 face masks without valves are not most likely to be very comfortable should you be wearing it on a hot and stuffy bus or a train on your way to work. This is particularly true of FFP3 respirators which are quite a bit thicker than the FFP2 type and as a result the majority of FFP3 masks are designed with a valve.
One crucial point relating to all disposable face masks is that they require to be very carefully disposed of as controlled waste when coming out of a contaminated area. This is because it is possible that the outer surface of the mask could be carrying virus particles and so could actually become a potential hazard itself.
A final crucial factor to consider when considering FFP3 face mask is that the user must make sure that a good sealed fit is achieved when fitting the respirator in order for it to work effectively and therefore it is generally accepted that males should be cleanly shaven to avoid leak. Also, at the moment of writing we have not been able to find a FFP3 disposable face mask that would be suitable as a child’s FFP3 face masks. This is because these items have been created for industry rather than domestic use. However it looks as though several manufacturers are addressing issue.
So choosing the best option from the various possible face masks does involve the careful consideration of some important points.
Directly I would certainly always want a provide of valve FFP3 face mask close by (but if funds were not permitting I would go for FFP2 face mask) and then once I ‘d achieved that and if resources allowed I would consider acquiring a couple of reusable face masks and a provide of P3 filters in case things got very bad for a prolonged time period and I needed to make sure that whenever I left the house I ‘d archived the most effective possible sealed fit. FFP3 disposable respirators would certainly be far better if the person needs to accomplish a lot of speaking at the office (as very little impact on verbal communication abilities). Reusable respirators would need to be disinfected that evening to make certain they were clean and ready for use the next day and the filters replaced as mentioned above. I think that the above options together with protecting the eyes (protective specs or goggles) and hands (disposable gloves), would go along way to keeping people safe.
The final considerations would certainly be anti-bacterial spray (available at most supermarkets) for the home and work place along with a suitable hand sanitizer to keep your hands clear of infection when not wearing gloves. Some hand sanitizers I have seen claim to kill 99.99% of common bacteria and come in handy 80 – 120 ml sized bottles. You do not require use with water which may be convenient if you are out and about and unable to get to a sink although generally it is recommended that the sanitizer be applied to clean dry hands for best results.
Lastly it may be that we are encouraged to stockpile on coverall suits to keep our clothing free from contamination. Again these ought to be capable of protecting the person against particulates. Based on the risk of cross contamination (ie inadvertently bringing items into your safe area which may be contaminated) it may be wise to look for disposable type coveralls. You should also consider disinfecting footwear or wearing disposable overshoes as virus can quite easily be picked up and spread via the underside of footwear.
Hopefully the information is helpful and if you are looking for FFP2 face masks you are welcome to contact us.