What is an N95 mask

What the KN95 masks are all about

The Ministry of Health caused confusion when it announced that masks of the KN95 standard do not correspond to the FFP2 masks - and revised this a little later. But which ones are allowed now? And where exactly is the difference?

Since Monday, wearing an FFP2 mask has been mandatory in many areas - on public transport, in supermarkets, in court. But there are other masks around that are very similar in appearance and effect to the FFP2 masks - including the KN95 mask.

The Ministry of Health caused confusion on Monday afternoon when it announced that KN-95 masks “are not subject to any European standard”. There is “also no European quality control. So they may not have been tested and are therefore legally to be assessed as 'simple' mouth and nose protection. "

However, this was revised a little later. The identification of the KN95 standard says that these masks are as good as the European FFP2 masks, the Ministry of Health specified its information. KN95 masks are also permitted under certain conditions. According to the Ministry of Health, they should only be used if it can be proven that they have been tested in Europe.

FFP2, KN95, N95

But what exactly is the difference between the FFP2 and KN95 markings? FFP2, KN95 or N95 are the protection class designations for particle filtering half masks from different countries. An FFP2 mask usually comes from Europe and must be marked with the CE certificate EN 149. N95 is a comparable mask from the USA, KN95 comes from China. It should be noted, however, that there are also FFP2 masks that were produced in China (such as those masks that Austria's senior citizens received free of charge from the government), however, according to European standards - ergo the name FFP2.

All three masks must meet comparable certification and approval requirements, but they are not entirely identical. Nevertheless, they all filter up to 94 percent of the particles in the air and thus offer far better protection than conventional cloth or surgical masks. With 95 percent (hence the name), the KN95 and N95 even have a slightly better filter performance than the European equivalent FFP2.

Consumers should therefore make sure when buying that their masks have at least two of the following features: the explicit designation as FFP2Mask, one EN marking (Number and year of publication of the standard, e.g. EN149: 2001) and a CE marking. The CE marking must also have a four-digit number which is used to identify the certifying test institute.

If you want to know exactly whether and where the mask has been checked, you can check the number in the so-called NANDO database on the EU Commission's website.

Just no filter

A distinction must also be made within the FFP2 masks, which filter up to 94 percent of the particles in the air. In order to protect the environment, only masks without an exhalation valve are allowed. Because these valves let the exhaled air flow unfiltered and thus also contaminated with viruses into the room air.

in the Social and health sector KN95 masks may only be used if they CPA are certified. If this indicator passes, you need "have no concerns". Then it would be safe masks, "which correspond to the filter performance and protection of an FFP2 mask," according to the Ministry of Health.

And what does CPA mean? Because certification according to the EN 149 standard takes a few months, the Ministry of Economic Affairs issued a decree at the beginning of April enabling a shortened assessment procedure for "Corona Virus Pandemic Respirators (CPA)". The masks do not have to go through a complete test procedure. The test values ​​to be achieved are based on the FFP2 standard.

(twi / APA)