A: An FFP3 respirator face mask is personal protective equipment designed for respiratory protection. These types of masks come in three respirator ratings: FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3. FFP stands for "Filtering Face Piece" and the 1, 2 or 3 marks the level of protection. To learn more about mask ratings, please click here.
The masks in this kit are certified as FFP3 by an independent testing lab that specializes in this type of testing.
That means that the 3 respirators in your Chemical Decontamination Kit remove at least 99% of all particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. Masks with this rating are considered effective against airborne biologicals and viruses, including influenza and coronavirus.
How big is the Coronavirus, and can these respirators filter it?
Yes, respirators with an N95/FFP2 rating or better -- including FFP3 -- can filter particles the size of the coronavirus (which is around 0.1 microns). The coronavirus ranges from between 0.06 and 0.14 microns in size. For more detailed information about micron sizes and removal rates for each type of respirator, please click here.
Is FFP3 better than N95?
Mask filtration rates are based on the minimum % of particles that a respirator filters. For example, if a mask is N95 rated, it will filter at least 95% of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. But in practice it will filter somewhere between 95% and 99%. An FFP3 respirator like the ones in this kit will filter at least 99% of particles that are 0.3 microns.
What’s the use-life of these masks?
Typically, FFP3 masks will have a user life of about 3 months, depending on the conditions in your environment and the amount of time you spend wearing it. Compare that to a surgical mask, which is not an effective respirator, which tops out at about 8 hours of use (under average low-risk usage conditions), and which shouldn’t be reused.
Are there risks for using respirators?
Yes, there are a number of possible risks with respirators that it’s worth being aware of...
- Not fitting and wearing respirators correctly – A respirator can’t fully protect you if it doesn’t fit your face. See OSHA guidance on fit testing and fit checking for more info.
- Touching the front of the respirator (which catches viruses etc) and then transferring that to other objects, which could eventually lead back to your mouth and nose.
- Taking unnecessary exposure risks because you’re wearing a respirator. Don’t let it give you false confidence. The safest thing is maintaining social distance.