Disposable face masks protect against harmful airborne dust particles during activities like building construction, decorating and maintenance work. Wearing a suitable mask with the appropriate level of protection is important for your health and wellbeing.
Respiratory face masks certified for use in Europe, come in one of three classes: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. Each class is an indication for the level of protection you will get if you use it correctly.
These masks over the minimum level of classified protection at 4.5x LTEL (Long Term Exposure Limit in an 8 hour period). They're suited to light decorating and building work or use in the food industry.
This is the most popular level of respirator mask protection. FFP2 masks offer a moderate level of protection at 10x LTEL. They're often worn when working with exotic woods, metals and in the mining industry
Masks that are classified FFP3 offer the best level of protection at 20x LTEL. They should be worn when working with silicates, respirable dusts like asbestos, mists and fumes (including from welding).
Some disposable face masks can be used more than once. If a mask designated as reusable (FFPx R), then it can be worn for two periods of 8 hours over two consecutive days.
FFP Suffix Designations:
- R = Reusable
- NR = Non reusable (single shift use only)
- D = Meets the clogging resistance requirements
First make sure that the mask is certified with a CE mark. To do this you should check that both the packaging and the mask are marked EN 149:2001. This confirms that they have been tested and classified correctly. Additionally be aware that, in order to work properly, disposable face masks must fit securely to your face. So consider their design and how well they have been manufactured.