Face Mask Types

Medical Masks

Medical masks are loose-fitting. They are used to reduce the spread of the wearer’s respiratory droplets to others and to protect wearers from large droplets of saliva or secretions from upper respiratory tract.

European standard EN 14683 include several types of effectiveness:

Type I

  • Bacterial filtration efficiency over 95%

  • Filters droplets

  • Generally used by individuals to prevent the spread of droplets from the wearers to others and their environment

Type II

  • Bacterial filtration efficiency over 98%

  • Filters droplets

  • Generally used by healthcare workers in procedural settings

Type IIR

  • Bacterial filtration efficiency over 98%

  • Filters droplets

  • Generally used by healthcare workers procedural settings.

  • The only type that protects wearers from splashes, where R stands for ‘resistant’ [1]

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S253104372030088X

Respirators

FFR – Filtering Facepieces Respirators are tight-fitting protective pieces of equipment used to filter airbourne droplet particles < 5 μm in diameter.[1]

Respirator masks are used to protect individuals from health hazards, including chemical, biological and radioactive materials. The European Standard (EN 149:2001) categorises FFRS into different classes FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 with corresponding filtration efficiencies of 80%, 94% and 99%[2]

FFP1

Filters droplets and airbourne particles

  • Filtering ≥80% of aerosols (total inward leakage <22%)

  • Generally used as a dust mask

FFP2

Filters droplets and airbourne particles

  • Offer more protection than FFP1, filtering ≥94% of aerosols (total inward leakage <8%).

  • European equivalent of the N95 respirator masks used in the US, making them recommended for use in the prevention of airborne infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

  • Generally used in construction and by healthcare professionals against respiratory illnesses.

FFP3

Filters droplets and airbourne particles

  • Offers the highest level of protection, filtering ≥99% of aerosols (total inward leakage <2%).

  • The only Health and Safety Executive (HSE) accepted FFP class for protection against infectious aerosols in healthcare settings in the UK.[3]

[1] https://books.google.com/books?hl=th&lr=&id=HID6NpLrwOsC&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&ots=vYGpaiuZZQ&sig=ICwXdr9p-c4c60tje-YlBiuoXfs

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5058571/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5058571/#B5