What Is The Difference Between FFP1, FFP2 And FFP3 Face Masks?

Everyone has been talking about face masks in recent times, hitting many homes all around the globe in the last year and months. What are the important criteria to take in consideration when buying the best one? Are face masks even useful? Are all options equally protective? And let’s not forget about the million dollar question: which face mask is more effective against covid-19? In this text we aim to guide you while you navigate the most common concerns related to the current pandemic and face-mask protection, as well the correspondent differences between each type of mask. So, continue reading to make an informed decision next time you have to deal with buying this personal protection equipment.


First of all, the term FFP might seem quite odd but it is simply a reference to the protection level offered by the different mask types available in the market. Its letters stand for “Filtering Face Piece”, also, as you can already guess, the number following this three letters is a score regarding how high or low the protection is, so the higher the number the most effective the barrier is at blocking any particle to pass through the equipment. This score is standardized and backed up by the CEN (European Committee for Standardization). Now, it is important to remark that an FFP1 can be as effective as FFP3, or maybe there is not even a need to use any protection equipment, it all boils down to the situation and your personal needs in a determined setting. Let’s talk about each type of mask.


Characteristics of an FFP3 mask:

These items will certainly provide you with the highest protection level, obviously surpassing the one found on FFP2 as well as FFP1. If you are in need of preservation against great amounts of dust or aerosols (both liquid or solid), this is a great option that will suit you better than FFP1 and 2. For example, if you work in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry, you can rest assured to be safe when working with hazardous powders.


What to expect if your mask falls under the classification of FFP2?

This type of equipment again, offers a more meticulous barrier than FFP1 but less than 3. It is a good option if you deal with ordinary levels of dust on a regular basis, and it is also effective against both solid and liquid aerosols. It can be a suitable choice of those who work at tasks such as plastering or sanding. A good example of this type of item is the so-called N95 face mask.


Important remarks on the FFP1 masks:

This face mask will offer significant protection, however less than FFP2 or 3. The filter capacity that you can expect is of at least 80% or particles, if they are the size of 0.3 microns as a minimum. If you choose an effective but stylish face mask classified under this protection level, you can rest assured to be safe against low levels of dust as well as solid and liquid aerosols. Less does not mean least, it can actually be a good option.

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