Respirators

Respirators

Respiratory protection is classified according to protection level and type. The level of protection indicates the ability of the respirator to purify the air.

Level of protection

There are three different levels of protection that respirators are measured by:

  • FFP1-filter is the lowest level. The half mask filters 80% of pollutants in the form of particles.
  • FFP2-filter is the intermediate level. The half mask filters 94% of pollutants in the form of particles. This filter is recommended as the lowest protection by the WHO.
  • FFP3-filter are the highest class of particulate filters. The half mask filters 99% of the pollutants in the form of particles. In healthcare, where respiratory protection is commonly used to protect carriers against airborne infection, FFP3 is the highest protection class generally recommended.

FFP is a European standard at the level of protection. In the USA N (NIOSH) is used and in China KN. These standards are similar and perform at about the same level. Below is an overview between FFP2, N95 and KN95 and a comparison of their respective standards.

Certification/class (Standard) N95(NIOSH-42CFR84) FFP2(EN 149-2001) KN95 (GB2626-2006) P2 (AS/NZ 1716:2012) Korea 1st Class (KMOEL - 2017-64) DS2 (Japan JMHLWNotification 214, 2018)
Filter performance – (must be ≥ X% efficient) ≥ 95% ≥ 94% ≥ 95% ≥ 94% ≥ 94% ≥ 95%
Test agent NaCl NaCl and paraffin oil NaCl NaCl NaCl and paraffin oil NaCl
Flow rate 85 L/min 85 L/min 85 L/min 95 L/min 95 L/min 95 L/min
Total inward leakage (TIL)* – tested on human subjects each performing exercises N/A ≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean) ≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean) ≤ 8% leakage (individual and arithmetic mean) ≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean) Inward Leakage measured and included in User Instructions
Inhalation resistance – max pressure drop ≤ 343 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min) ≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min) ≤ 500 Pa (clogging) ≤ 350 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min) ≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min) ≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min) ≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min) ≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
Flow rate 85 L/min Varied – see above 85 L/min Varied – see above Varied – see above 40 L/min
Exhalation resistance - max pressure drop ≤ 245 Pa ≤ 300 Pa ≤ 245 Pa ≤ 120 Pa ≤ 300 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
Flow rate 85 L/min 160 L/min 85 L/min 85 L/min 160 L/min 40 L/min
Exhalation valve leakage requirement Leak rate ≤ 30 mL/min N/A Depressurizatio n to 0 Pa ≥ 20 sec Leak rate ≤ 30 mL/min visual inspection after 300 L /min for 30 sec Depressurizatio n to 0 Pa ≥ 15 sec
Force applied -245 Pa N/A -1180 Pa -250 Pa N/A -1,470 Pa
CO2 clearance requirement N/A ≤ 1% ≤ 1% ≤ 1% ≤ 1% ≤ 1%

Respiratory protection is designed to provide adequate protection, which requires leakage to be prevented. It is 100% use time and must fit your face and be comfortable to use. For this reason, make sure that the respiratory protection is comfortable and suitable for the face. When using, for example, face protection, you should not have a beard or stubble. Otherwise, there is a risk of leakage, particles can get inside and even reach the airways. There are several different types of respirators depending on the task and risk exposure.

  • Filtering half mask is a protection that consists entirely or mostly of filter material. The air passes the filter material when inhaled. The exhaled air passes through the filter material or through the exhalation valve. The mask covers the mouth, nose and chin.
  • Half mask is a protection where the inhaled air passes through one or more filters into the mask via an inhalation valve. The exhaled air passes through an exhalation valve. When the filter starts to become full, the filter (s) are replaced with new ones that are mounted on the half mask. The mask covers the chin, mouth and nose.
  • Full face mask This mask receives its air supply in the same way as a half face mask and covers the chin, mouth, nose and eyes. Full face mask should be used at high concentrations of gases and vapors to protect the respiratory tract and eyes.

Many respirators are available with or without valve.