How safe are your family and kids in this time of global pandemic? In the United States, there is a dire need for n95 respirators and n95 masks. Unfortunately, a surgical disposable face mask is not enough antiviral protection against the coronavirus. It must be an N95 respirator, if not an N95 mask. So, when you are looking for a face mask for medical purposes, it is wise to determine exactly what type of virus protection you should look to buy.
You might already be aware of reusable and disposable face masks for sale online in the USA. Some of the most sought-after masks that filter out the flu causing virus in dust and smoke include 3M N95 masks, face shields, and kn95 masks. Products like 3M 8210, 1860, 3M 8511 have many uses in the healthcare industry that it is mostly purchased wholesale or in bulk. The best types come in a size that fits the user very well.
N95 Mask vs N95 Respirator
But just what is the difference between two of the most purchased commodities during the COVID-19 pandemic? There is a technical difference between the N95 respirator and the N95 mask. Distinguishing one from the other can better protect the wearer depending on the use it was bought for.
Contrary to the N95 respirator, the N95 mask is not designed to protect the wearer, but prevent sneezing and coughing from getting through the mask. It can help diminish the spreading of the virus. It is also loose-fitting, unlike the N95 respirator.
The N95 respirator, on the other hand, should be tight-fitting. An N95 respirator must fit well with a facial seal. Any facial hair or the size of one’s face can affect how well the N95 respirator can protect the wearer. As such, an N95 respirator can offer two-way protection. The N95 respirator can both prevent the spreading of the virus and also protect the wearer of the N95 respirator.
You can buy a disposable N95 respirator which is single-use only. You also have the option to purchase a half-face N95 respirator that covers the nose and mouth. The full face N95 respirator is also reusable and covers the entire face, including the eyes. This type of N95 respirator offers the most protection for both the wearer and those he comes in contact with.
Standards Used for N95 Respirator
Now, before the N95 respirator reaches U.S. shores, it is important that the N95 respirator passes some quality checks and health standards. You may have heard of the American standard which is NIOSH certification. This N95 respirator passes the Center for Disease Control standards.
On the other hand, Europe maintains the FFP standard for the N95 respirator supply. FFP, in the case of the N95 respirator, is defined as the filtering facepiece (FFP) score. The FFP rating for N95 respirator is governed by the European Committee for Standardization. There are two standards for the N95 respirator. The first being the EN standard 149:2001. There are also P1, P2, and P3 ratings for the N95 respirator covered by the EN 143 standard.
To understand these FFP standards for the N95 respirator, it is simply the capacity of the N95 respirator to filter out 0.3 microns and larger. For FFP1 and P1 N95 respirator, it means it can filter at least 80% of airborne microns. An N95 respirator with FFP2 and P2 ratings has 94 percent filtering capacity. The N95 respirator has a 95 percent filter capacity. If you find an N95 respirator with an FP3 rating, it has 99% filter capacity. Then, the P3 N95 respirator rating has 99.95 percent filter capacity. Finally, the N100 has 99.97 percent capacity to filter out the coronavirus.
When buying an N95 respirator with high FFP standards, consider the FFP2 and P2 ratings. This is the type of N95 respirator that can block out the coronavirus.
European vs US Standards for N95 respirator
The FFP standard is the European standard for the N95 respirator. In the USA, NIOSH certification is the standard. FFP standard has equivalents with n95 masks sold in the U.S., as previously stated.
Now, when you buy an N95 respirator based on the FFP standard, you can know what type of FFP standard and filtration it offers by looking at the elastic band. FFP1 respirators have a yellow band signifying it can filter 80 percent of the coronavirus. FFP2 has a blue or white elastic band as it can filter out at least 94 percent of the virus. The red elastic band is the highest type of FFP rating with FFP3 filtration of at least 99 percent.
Comparison Review of FFP Rated Masks
Let us dig deeper into the efficiency of the FFP rated masks:
First, the FFP1 mask is the dust mask counterpart of the European standard. Keep in mind that this type of mask can help filter airborne particles in dust, of at least 80 percent. This health standard in an N95 respirator can help prevent lung diseases like silicosis, and asbestosis. This type of N95 respirator counterpart is particularly beneficial in the working environment with heavy dust, cement, zinc, coal, and aluminum, among others.
Second, the FFP2 mask counterpart of the N95 respirator is best for those working in the pharmaceutical industry as well as foundry, agriculture, glass, and construction industries. This type of mask can prevent viruses from infecting the individual, especially when found in powdered chemicals. Some of the influenza viruses this type of mask can prevent from infecting the wearer include influenza, COVID-19, and SARS as well as bacteria causing tuberculosis and pneumonic plague.
Third, the FFP3 mask has the least internal leak which makes it best for environments that expose the wearer to very fine particles. These include working in environments that use a lot of ceramic, nitrogen oxide gases, and asbestos.