EN 149 is a Europe standard of testing and marking requirements for filtering half masks.
Such masks cover the nose, mouth and chin and may have inhalation and/or exhalation valves. EN 149 defines three classes of such particle half masks, called FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3, (FFP = filtering facepiece) according to their filtering efficiency. It also classifies masks into "single shift use only" (not re-useable, marked NR) or "re-usable (more than one shift)" (marked R), and an additional marking letter D indicates that a mask has passed an optional clogging test using dolomite dust. Such mechanical filter respirators protect against the inhalation of particle such as dust particles, droplets, and aerosols.
Almost identical tests (but different markings) are used in Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Brazil. Similar standards are used in the United States, China and Japan. For example, EN 149 FFP2 masks have similar performance requirements to N95 masks in the United States and KN95 filters of China, and EN 149 FFP3 masks have similar performance requirements to N99 masks in the United States. However EN 149 test requirements differ somewhat from the U.S./Chinese/Japanese standards: EN 149 requires an additional paraffin-oil aerosol test and it tests at a range of different flow rates and defines several associated and permissible pressure drop levels.
The EN 149 standard defines performance requirements for three classes of particle-filtering half masks: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. The protection provided by an FFP2 (or FFP3) mask includes the protection provided by a mask of the lower-numbered classes.
A mask conforming to the standard must have its class written on it, along with the name of the standard and its year of publication, as well as any applicable option codes, e.g. “EN 149:2001 FFP1 NR D”. Some manufacturers use in addition the colour of the elastic band to identify the mask class, however, the EN 149 standard does not specify any such colour coding and different manufacturers have used different colour schemes.
|Class||Filter penetration limit (at 95 L/min air flow)||Inward leakage||Typical elastic band|
|FFP1||Filters at least 80% of airborne particles||<22%||Yellow|
|FFP2||Filters at least 94% of airborne particles||<8%||Blue or White|
|FFP3||Filters at least 99% of airborne particles||<2%||
It is the least filtering mask of the three.
It is mainly used as a dust mask (for example for DIY jobs). Dust can cause lung diseases, such as silicosis, anthracosis, siderosis and asbestosis (in particular dust from silica, coal, iron, ore,zinc, aluminium or even cement).
The FFP3 mask is the most filtering of the FFP masks. It protects against very fine particles such as asbestos and ceramic. It does not protect against gases and in particular nitrogen oxide.
EN 149 tests the ability of masks to protect the wearers against inhaling liquid and dry aerosols. It makes no statement about, and does not specifically test the suitability of such masks for, Nevertheless, FFP2 and FFP3 masks are commonly used for this purpose in medical practice.
Several regions use standards based on nearly identical tests and thresholds as those in EN 149, but with different markings:
Other regions use similar tests that (in parts) resemble more closely the 42 CFR 84 requirements in the United States:
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