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The importance of respiratory protection


Dangerous particles can cause cancer or may be radioactive; others example pathogens can harm the respiratory system or even worst, cause death. Filtering face pieces (masks) offer protection in three classes against aqueous oily aerosols, smoke, and fine particles during exposure. Their protective function conforms to EU norm EN 149. This kind of face piece protection is also known as particle-filtering half mask or fine particle mask and they are divided into the protection classes FFP1FFP2 and FFP3.

How does a respirator mask work?


Filtering face pieces or masks protect from respirable dust, smoke, and aqueous fog (aerosols), however they offer no protection from vapour and gas. The classifying system consists of the three FFP classes, the abbreviation FFP stands for "filtering face piece". A respirator mask covers mouth and nose and is constructed of various filter materials and the mask itself. Their use is mandatory in working environments or hospitals exceeding the occupational exposure limit value (OEL). This is the maximal concentration of dust, smoke, and/or aerosols in our breathing air that won’t result in harm to health. In case of transgression, respirator masks must be worn.

Against what do respirator masks protect?


Depending on the total leakage and filtering of particle sizes up to 0.6 μm, respirator masks ranging from FFP1 through FFP2 to FFP3 offer breathing protection for various concentrations of pollutants. The total leakage comes about based on the filter penetration and leakages in the mouth and nose area. Respiratory masks aim to avoid these by adapting masks to human anatomy. Thanks to innovative filter technology, the breathing resistance can be held minimal and breathing isn’t exacerbated and intercepted particles remain in the filter.

  • They offer protection from poisonous and deleterious kinds of dust, smoke, and aerosols

  • When working with oncogenic or radioactive substances or pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungal spores FFP3-class respirator masks are recommended

  • Total leakage may in certain masks amount to a maximum of 5%

  • OEL transgression to the thirtyfold value

Protection class FFP3 respirator masks offer maximum protection from breathing air pollution. The total leakage may amount to a maximum of 5% and they must filter 99% of all particles measuring up to 0.6 μm. This kind of mask also filters poisonous, oncogenic and radioactive particles. Protection class FFP3 masks are used in working environments transgressing the OEL by the thirtyfold industry-specific values. They are often used in the chemistry industry.

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