FFP3, FFP2, FFP1 respirators from DACH Schutzbekleidung
What do the FFP protection classes (filtering face piece) mean?

FFP3, FFP2, FFP1 respiratory masks from DACH Schutzbekleidung: but what do the FFP protection classes (filtering face piece) mean? And why should non-certified masks be used with caution? Due to current events, we would like to inform you about the dangers of non-tested, non-certified respiratory protection masks, and hereby expressly warn you against their use.

Because our field service employees very often noticed apparently quite inexpensive respiratory masks during customer visits, trade fairs and training courses in the recent past, which, however, were neither correctly labelled nor properly tested and approved, we see it as our duty to inform you about the risks of such masks. Not least because various models from well-known manufacturers could be found among these unchecked masks. 

Since the lungs are the largest entry point for undesirable substances such as germs or toxins, respiratory protection is a very sensitive issue with great importance for the health of the user. Therefore the PPE-Regulation (EU) 2016/425 for personal protective equipment of the European Commission classifies respiratory masks in the highest category and stipulates a mandatory type test by an independent and approved testing institute. The user recognises a tested and approved mask by the four-digit code number of the test laboratory after the CE mark (e.g. CE0000) and the specification of the standard EN 149: 2001, A1: 2009 on the product and packaging.

EN 149 specifies the minimum requirements for particle filtering half masks and divides the masks according to their max. permissible total leakage in three protection classes:  

Protection class

Total leakage

Comments and areas of application

Max. 25%

Only for non-toxic and non-fibrogenic dusts

Max. 11%

Average protective effect at least 95%

Max. 5%

Average protective effect at least 99%  

Whether a mask can be used for more than one work shift can be seen from the marking on the mask. An “R” for reusable or an “NR” for non-reusable is added after the code number for the protection level.  

Example: If a respirator of protection level FFP3 is intended to be used for a work shift, this mask must read "FFP3 NR". If it is reusable, the designation is "FFP3 R". So what do you as a user or buyer have to pay attention to when choosing the masks?

Here is a quick summary: 

  1. CE-symbol with the following number of the approval body on the mask and sales packaging (CE0000). 
  2. Indication of the standard EN 149:2001, A1:2009 and the corresponding protection level on the mask and sales packaging (e.g. FFP2 NR) 
  3. Instructions for use are included in the sales packaging.
  4. The manufacturer provides the following documents on its website or upon request:
    • EC Declaration of Conformity
    • Type test of the approval body
    • Technical Data Sheet

We strongly advise you to follow the advice above when deciding on a respirator and not to take any risks with this sensitive issue. It is worth taking a closer look, especially when it comes to supposedly inexpensive products. The low prices are often only possible because cost-intensive testing and certification procedures have been circumvented.

Masken schützen, insbesondere vor der Delta-Variante
Seitdem die DELTA-Variante des SARS-CoV-2 aufgetaucht ist, wird oft behauptet, dass sie viel ansteckender ist als die Ursprungsvariante. Stimmt das?