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FFP2 mask

FFP2 mask with CE certificate

FFP2 mask: the only way to truly protect against Corona aerosolized particles

Which type of mask truly protects one against the dangers of transmission of the corona virus?


There are various types of masks which are currently used to protect against the corona virus. The following table contains a summary::


Mask typeEU medical certificationProtection against inhaling particlesProtection against exhaling particlesComments
FFP2 (non-valved) Yes Yes Yes

FFP2 are the only types of masks which offer almost complete protection against Corona virus for both the wearer and the people nearby. FFP2 is a protected EU term, and can only be applied to face masks which have undergone elaborate testing by a certified EU notified body. Such masks need to have an official test certificate, and the supplier needs to comply with rigorous standards to ensure continued compliance with the test norms.


Testing is done per the EN 149:2001+A1:2009 norm. This norm prescribes also testing 'as worn' Since the FFP2 masks provide an almost perfect seal between the mask and the face skin, they provide reliable protection against aerosolized particles entering or escaping the mask. The FF2 filters any particles larger than 0.3 micron. This is 10 times better than the cheaper surgical masks.


A qualified FFP2 mask will have the registration # number of the testing 'EU notified body' and the EN norm printed on it, together with the CE logo. Assuming it is not a fraudulently produced and imported mask, this provides assurance that the mask is legitimate. Doing one's homework and checking the certificate on the EU official website is always a good idea.

Surgical Some Limited Limited

CE certified surgical masks are tested according to EN 14683. This is a very different test from the FFP2 test procedure. For surgical masks, only the cloth properties are tested. But there is no 'as worn' test. The cloth is tested to stop particles of 3.0 microns and larger. That is 10 times larger than an FFP2 mask. 


When looking at how these masks are worn by most users, it is clear that they provide limited real protection against air entering or escaping through all sides of the masks. These masks only provide protection against large droplets which travel in a straight line from and to the nose and mouth. There is very little protection against aerosolized particles which can also carry the corona virus.


In addition, many such surgical masks are sold without CE mark, so it is even questionable how well they provide even the most basic of protection.


Summarizing: a surgical mask offers much less protection than an FFP2 mask (filtered particles are 10 times larger; air is escaping along all edges of a surgical mask). 


Note: there are many 'dust' masks being sold which are not EC certified. These maks usually have a 'not for medical use/not EC approved' type of text on the packaging. These most likely offer even less protection than the certified surgical masks. Stay away from these masks if the objective is to protect against the corona virus. 

Cloth No Limited Limited

Cloth masks are not subject to any EU standards. They vary wildly in fit and quality. A well fitting cloth face mask, made of good quality cotton provides fairly good protection, as demonstrated by an elaborate study by the university of Oxford. 


It is important that there is a tight fit of the mask so there are almost no gaps between skin and mask. Unfortunately, many people wear ill-fitting masks, which will let large quantities of aerosolized particles enter or leave the mask, and thus form a potential hazard to the people around them.

FFP2 or KN95 dust mask with exhale valve No Yes (dust) No

Masks with an exhale valve are a big no-no in the corona pandemic era. These masks are only meant to be used in a dusty or dirty environment (e.g. woodcutting or during air polution) where the quality of the exhaled air is irrelevant.


Using such masks as corona protection can be described as egoistical. The user benefits from whatever protection such masks offer to the user. But they seem to be indifferent to the fact that their exhaled breath and droplets escape the mask unfiltered through the exhale valve,


The USA CDC has issued a strong recommendation against any masks with an exhale vale.

Cloth mask with exhale valve No Limited No The same applies as described above. Furthermore, these masks tend to be of low quality, made in China and sold for very low prices. Most likely, they protect neither wearer nor anyone in the vicinity of the user. 
KN95  No Yes (most often: dust) No

KN95 is the Chinese standard used for mask testing, and is similar to FFP2. Due to the large shortages during the first corona wave, the EU issued a temporary exemption for KN95 marked masks coming from reputable suppliers in China. Such KN95 masks could only be used in medical institutions and were not meant for sale to the general public. This exemption expired in June 2020. Since then, only masks certified as FFP2 masks can be imported.


However, it appears that large quanities of KN95 masks found their way to the end-user market. Also many masks were sold via unscrupulous vendors who placed a KN95 stamp on shoddy products which did not even comply with the Chinese standards.


Using a KN95 mask is a shot in the dark since there is no guarantee that these were subjected to the rigorous testing and certification regime of an FFP2 mask. 

Frequently Asked Questions regarding face masks and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Contents

 

How effective are face masks against the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

FFP2 face masks provide excellent protection against airborne coronavirus particles. FFP2 face masks protect the user and those in the vicinity. By wearing an FFP2 mask one contributes to reducing the spread of the virus. Almost all masks assist to some degree but not to the extent of an FFP2 or FFP3 mask.


For adequate effectiveness of the face masks it is important to wash your hands prior and after use of a mask.

 

Differences between FFP face masks explained

FFP masks are available in different classes. Masks which are primarily used in renovation and building activities (FFP-1 standard) and masks which effectively protect against viruses (FFP-2 norm). Our FFP2 face masks are CE certified and comply with all applicable EU norms and thus protect against the corona virus.


Surgical face masks are used a lot during the pandemic. Unfortunately, these hardly protect against the fine aerosolized particles which can contain the corona virus. Contrary to FFP2 masks, surgical masks are not tested 'as-worn' (which means that the fit between mask and skin is not a test criteria). Surgical masks are only tested for cloth caracteristics. And the cloth is allowed to let particles pass through which are 10 times the size allowed for an FFP2 mask.  


What is FFP2?

In Europe approved face masks need to comply with the European standard EU 2016/425 / EN 149:2001. This standard for respiratory protection is divided in 3 classes (FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3). All classes need to filter ultra fine particles of 0,3 micron. The difference is the percentage of particles which will be filtered out.


FFP1 is the lowest class and filters only 80% of aerosolized particles. This standard permits a leakage of up to 22%. These types of masks are primarily used in construction activities and not in the health sector..


FFP2 masks filter an impressive 94% of the particles in the air. In addition, these masks allow a leakage of only 8% around the borders. Because of the effectiveness and the ease of fitting these FFP2 masks are mostly used by health care professionals. During the pandemic they are used a lot for protection against the corona virus.


FFP3 is the standard for masks with an aerosol filtration of 99% and a maximum leakage of 2%. These masks are better than an FFP2, but also have disadvantages. They are much more expensive, a perfect fit is even more important and not always easy, and breathing requires more effort. Hence, FFP3 is used in the most exacting cirmumstances (like asbest removal activities or in labs which deal with dangerous substances or bacteria).

 

How to recognize an approved FFP2 face mask?

Each producer of FFP masks needs to comply with stringent standards to get a product certified  Without a CE certificate it is not possible to import or sell FFP masks in the EU.

The steps for obtaining the certification are as follows:

In the EU, so called 'Notified Bodies' have been registered. These are test institutes which specialize in certain products, and can reside in or outside of the EU.
  • A Notified Body is supervised under stringent EU rules to ensure that the testing is done precisely according to the norms and regulations.
  • Each Notified body has a unique registration number issued by the EU.
  • After testing a selection of the products, an evaluation of the design criteria and an audit of the production process a CE certificate of approval can be issued. Subsequently, the import and sale of the approved products can start in the EU.

Due to the strict rules obtaining a CE type-approval is not a trivial matter. Thus the consumer can have confidence that a product complies with all standards.

FFP2 maskers are covered by EU Regulation 2016/425. Testing of the masks is done under EN norm 149:2001+A1:2009

Checking the validity of a certificate is best done via the office EU website. Click here to start.
  • Now you are on the official EU website with a listing of all approved and registered Notified Bodies
  • Our masks have been tested by Notified Body with registratienummer 2163 (= Notified Body registration # for Universal NB)
  • Search for '2163'. Then click on the link to the website of this Notified Body. That way one can be sure to access the correct site for that organization.
  • On this website the validity of the CE certificate for our masks can be checked.
  • The certificate number for our FFP2 masks is 2163-PPE-1160 

 

Quality of Duuja's FFP2 face masks

During the certification process, the Notified Body conducts all prescribed tests to ensure that the FFP2 masks meet the minimum values speficied in the test norm.
Duuja's masks significantly exceed the EU test norms in filtration characteristics.

FFP2 norm - minimum Duuja FFP2 masks
Sodium Chloride testing              94%              99%
Paraffin Oil Testing              94%              98%

A copy of the EC test report can be found here.

A copy of the manufacturer's Declaration of Conformity can be downloaded from this link.

What is the difference between KN95 en FFP2?

KN95 is a Chinese standard which indicates the quality of face masks. 


The KN95 norm is equivalent to the FFP2 norm described above. The minimal required filtration percentage for KN95 is slightly better than the European FFP2 class.

  • >90% (KN90) >80% (FFP1)
  • >95% (KN95) >94% (FFP2)
  • >99,97% (KN100)>99% (FFP3)

HOWEVER: KN95 is not an allowed standard in Europe. During the panic of the first corona wave a temporrary exemption was introduced. Until June 2020, KN95 masks without CE certificate could be imported from producers which were regulated by the Chinese government. With the understanding that such KN95 masks could only be used in the medical sector and were not destined for sale to the general public..


Unfortunately, during the panic of the first corona wave a lot of sub-standard product with a KN95 stamp was brought into Europe. Products which did not comply with the Chinese standards, but which were nevertheless imported by shady companies. Sometimes in good faith. Often deliberately. Long lists circulate of companies and brands which have commercialed inferior masks. 


As of June 2020 all FFP2 maskers need to comply with the EU CE certificate rules, and are then sold as an FFP2 mask with CE seal and certificate. Buying a mask with a KN95 stamp is a big gamble. It could be a legitimate, well functioning mask. But possibly it is a non-effective counterfeit product. Why take the risk when approved FFP2 masks are available?


What is the minimum FFP for health care professionals?

In Europe, the minumum requirement for face masks for health care  professionals is FFP2 or FFP3. These masks provide the required filtration needed for the treatment of patients who (possibly) are infected with the corona virus.

 

When should an infected patient wear an FFP2 mask?

As soon as a patient is suspected to be infected with the corona virus, the patient should immediately wear a mask of at least the FFP2 class or higher. This will protect their health care professionals against contact with the virus.

 

Should an essential worker wear an FFP2 mask?

Does your profession not allow working at a safe (minimum 1.5 meter) distance from your customer or colleagues? Or do you work in a closed environment together with others, with possibly insufficient air circulation? The only way to ensure you protect yourself and others is through the use of an FFP2 mask. Thus you indicate to customers and collegues that you take the risk and their health seriously

 

How effective are FFP2 masks?

A (corona) virus, can spread by adhering to droplets which leave our lungs via coughing, sneezing, breathing or talking. Such droplets can travel 1,5 meter and infect anyone who gets in contact with such droplets. In addition, the droplets can adhere to surfaces which are later touched by someone who then touches mouth, nose or eyes and thus gets infected.


In the meantime various studies have confimed that the virus is aerosolized. This means that it sticks to miniscule droplets which can remain suspended in the air for a long time in insufficiently ventilated indoor areas. It explains why there was this massive explosion of the second wave after the summer period when the infection rates in much of Europe had dropped drastically during the summer months. In autumn and winter we spend much more time indoors and this increases the risk that we get in contact with an aerosolized version of the virus. 


Face masks which conform to the FFP2 norm are effective in preventing this type of contact with the virus. This is especially important in public places where social distancing is difficult, such as supermarkets, shops, schools, public transport or work.

 

Who should not wear an FFP2 mask?

Children younger than two years, people with respiratory problems and persons who are not able to take off the mask themselves should not use a mask.

 

How to put on an FFP2 face mask?

Step 1: Clean hands with soap and water or with a disinfectant gel. 

Step 2: Ensure that nose and face are covered by the mask and there are no open spaces between mask and face.

Step 3: Prevent touching the mask during use. Infected particles may stick to the surface. Should the mask be touched, wash/clean hands immediately..

Step 4: Replace the mask when it gets damp/moist. Or if breathing becomes more difficult. A damp/moist mask is not effective. Do not re-use masks marked 'NR' ("Not Re-usable").

 


How to remove a face mask?

Step 1: Remove the mask by holding it at the straps 

Step 2: Dispose of in a sealed waste basket.

Step 3: Wash/clean hands after use.

 

How to use a face mask?

Most important is for the face mask to provide a seal for the air going in and out of our body while breathing. Since the air needs to be filtered before inhaling and after exhaling, it is important that the mask has a tight fit around the face. Please ensure a proper fit. Also use the adjustable nose clip for a perfect fit.


It is important to not touch the mask during use. Before and after use, wash/clean hands thoroughly. After use, dispose of in a sealed trash can.


Attention: facial hair such as a beard can cause a less than optimal seal with the mask and may cause the mask to be less effective.

 

How long does a face mask offer protection?

It is not recommended to use the FFP2 mask for more than 8 hours continuously. In the following cases, it is advisable to replace the mask more often:
1) Breathing becomes more difficult.
2) The mask is damaged
3) The mask has gotten damp/moist


Please remember to order sufficient masks.


Attention: most/damp and/or damaged masks do not offer protection.

 

Is re-use of an FFP2 mask safe?

We advise to replace the face mask at a minimum every 8 hours. If the mask is used during the treatment of infected persons then it is recommended to change the mask immediately after the treatment. FFP2 masks witht 'NR' (not re-usable) behind the type indication are not meant for re-use. In case an 'R' (re-usable) is shown, then the mask can be reused subject to the recommendations in the manual.

 

How to clean a face mask?

Possibilities to desinfect face masks is being investigated. The results of this are not yet known.

 

How to use a face mask during a cold/flu?

Using a face mask while suffering a cold or the flu is a very social thing to do. It prevents viruses or bacteria infecting others around you. Follow the regular instructions for use.

 

Can a face mask be returned?

Any face mask can be returned within 14 days when unused and in the original packaging. Masks are a hygienic product which cannot be returned after use.

 

What are the delivery times?

Mask are delivered withing 2 or 3 days after placing an order (assuming we have stock). Shipment is done by courier service.

 

Which payment methods are accepted?

We offer safe and secure payment methods.
Payments can be made via iDEAL, SOFORT and Bankcontact. Credit card, Paypal or bank transfers are also possible.

 

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