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FFP1, FFP2, FFP3 What’s the Difference? FFP Facemasks Explained

FFP1, FFP2, FFP3 What’s the Difference? FFP Facemasks Explained
19/12/2021

Fed up with masks that don’t quite fit? Masks that feel impossible to breathe in. Masks that have that chemical smell. We are too!

That’s why we supply a wide range of MOLDEX face masks that have been created with you, the wearer, at the forefront of design. Our MOLDEX FFP masks offer a varying amount of protection depending on the situation the mask is required for.

Read on as we explain these differences and help you select the right FFP mask for you.

What does it mean if a mask is an FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3? The terms FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 masks are seen more frequently recently due to coronavirus, however these types of masks have been used across multiple industries for years.

FFP stands for Filtering Face Piece, referring to a half face style mask. They are a form of disposable RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment) and work by filtering out the smallest air particles to protect to wearer from respirable dust, smoke, and aerosols.

Unlike surgical masks, FFP masks protect the wearer against incoming and outgoing particles, e.g., an FFP2 mask will protect both the person wearing the mask and the people around them.

Each FFP mask conforms to the EU standards EN 149: 2001 the masks are then split into the 3 FFP categories determined by their protection level: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.

Before we jump into the different properties of the FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 masks, there are some terms that are useful to understand.

IMPORTANT FFP MASK TERMS Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL): OELs are standards that determine the amount or concentration, of a hazardous substance allowable in the workplace air.

Assigned Protection Factor (APF): Indicates the factor by which the wearer is protected from hazardous substances. For example, an FFP mask with an APF of 4 will reduce the hazard of the wearer breathing in toxic substances by 4 times

FFP1 FFP1 masks are the most basic FFP masks offering a limited amount of respiratory protection.

white FFP1 molded MOLDEX mask against a wooden background FILTER These masks have the least number of filtering layers meaning that they are also the easiest to breathe in. An FFP1 mask should filter at least 75% of the substance it is protecting the wearer against. They are perfectly capable masks depending on the hazard.

These masks tend not to have a valve but may be purchased with one to aid in exhalation. Moldex 2365 Classic FFP1 NR D valved – Rapid Fire Supplies

SHOULD I WEAR AN FFP1 MASK? Deciding which FFP mask is right for you does not need to be tricky! Do you work in the painter and decorator industry? Or dabble in DIY at home? Do you teach a woodwork class? Perhaps you are onsite smoothing cement or a gardener whose hay fever is playing up? The FFP1 mask is suitable for all the above and more!

Here are the types of industries that may benefit from wearing an FFP1 mask and the types of hazards the FFP1 mask would protect them from.

Keep in mind that FFP1 masks can protect the wearer against irritating, non-toxic substances such as brick dust, cement, limestone and pollen, but these masks will not provide enough protection if the substance is toxic – a higher standard would be required.

STANDARDS FFP1 masks generally have a 4X OEL and a 4X APL.

Moldex 2405 Classic FFP2 NR D Valved Masks. BOX OF 20 EXAMPLE The MOLDEX 2360 Classic Non-Valved FFP1 Mask. This FFP1 mask offers all the advantages that make Moldex FFP masks so successful. The flexible ActivForm® 3D design adapts automatically to the shape of the wearers face and their facial movements.

Moldex 2360 Classic FFP1 NR D non-valved – Rapid Fire Supplies

FFP2 An FFP2 mask is the equivalent of a US N95 standard mask. These masks were initially created to protect people against infectious diseases, as such FFP2 masks have been recommended by the WHO (World Health Organisation) as the best option to protect people from COVID-19.

At the time of writing, FFP2 masks are compulsory on public transport and in shops in Germany, this has been the case since January 2021 to protect people from COVID-19. This is also currently the law in Austria.

The FFP2 mask has currently not been made compulsory in the UK.

Moldex 2405 CLASSIC FFP2 NR D VALVED MASKS BOX OF 20 FILTER FFP2 masks have more filter layers than an FFP1 meaning that it offers the wearer a higher level of protection.

It is more commonplace to see a valve in an FFP2 mask. This can help to reduce a build-up of heat in difficult working conditions increasing the comfort of the wearer.

An FFP2 mask offers 94% of Bacterial Filtration Efficiency.

USE As before mentioned, FFP2 masks were initially created for infectious disease due to its superior protection against small particles in the air.

However, they have been used to protect people in a variety of industries for years.

STANDARDS FFP2 masks have a 10 X APF and 12 X OEL

Moldex 2405 Classic FFP2 NR D Valved Masks. BOX OF 20 EXAMPLE The Moldex 2405 FFP2 Valved Mask has a strong and durable structure and is a BEST SELLER at Rapid Fire Supplies.

Moldex 2405 FFP2 NR D Valved Masks (classic). Box of 20 – In Stock (rapidfiresupplies.co.uk)

FFP3 For the highest protection against a range of hazardous substances, an FFP3 mask is the mask to opt for. FFP3 masks for able to block liquid and solid aerosols.

FILTER The filter material for an FFP3 mask is extremely thick therefore exhalation valves are almost always fitted on these types of masks. An FFP3 mask offers 99% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency.

USE Technically this mask could be used for any of the jobs that FFP1 and FFP2 are used for, however due to the dramatically thicker filter FFP3 masks are more uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time.

STANDARDS This FFP3 mask ratings are 20 X APF and 50 X OEL.

Moldex 2535 Speciality FFP3 valved mask EXAMPLE For a top quality FFP3 mask we recommend the Moldex 2535 Speciality FFP3 Mask. Not only does it offer unmatched protection to the user it also includes comfort features such as a foam nose bridge and fabric straps.

One of the straps has a ‘handy strap’ that can be easily unclipped to allow the mask to hang around the neck when not in use, this helps reduce waste and the number of disposable masks used.

Moldex 2535 Speciality FFP3 valved mask – Rapid Fire Supplies

MORE ON MASKS PPE for care workers – Rapid Fire Supplies – Trusted Safety Provider

ClearMask: bringing the arts back to life – Rapid Fire Supplies

Face Coverings – what you need to know about face masks…. (rapidfiresupplies.co.uk)

Molten metals industry – Health topics (hse.gov.uk)

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