FAQ FFP2 and FFP3 Respirators
Most FFP2s offer at least 94% filtration of particles. FFP2s are viewed as being the European equivalent of N95s (USA) or KN95s (China). They all offer similar protection but go through slightly different testing procedures by the respective European, US and Chinese bodies, hence the different nomenclature.
HSE and PHE have carried out a review of FFP2s and N95s concluding there is no material difference between the two. They provide comparable protection if the wearer has passed a face fit test (see below).
FFP3 offers at least 99% filtration of particles compared to most FFP2s, which offer at least 94%. FFP3s are more expensive due to their higher filtration efficiency.
PHE recommends using FFP3s when carrying out AGPs during the current Covid-19 pandemic, but stipulates that when FFP3s are not available, FFP2s may be used. The WHO routinely recommend FFP2s.
The valve is a comfort device, it does not effect or contribute to the level of protection, but controls how much and how quickly air can escape from the respirator to reduce the build-up of heat and moisture. If the respirator wearer is ill, the valve will not stop them spreading infection, their breath or cough can enter the air without filtering as the valve opens on exhalation.
Discreet and easy to store.
Softer fabric design enables more comfortable breathability.
The elastic head straps enable a close face fit.
Not intended to offer a perfectly flush fit, however still provides adequate protection when worn correctly and with other recommended PPE such as visors.
Closer fit than folded.
Designed with the shape of the face in mind to fit snuggly to the nose, mouth and chin.
Less comfortable to wear.
Do a I need a fit test? HSE and PHE recommend a face-fit test is carried out by a competent person (https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/face-mask-ppe-rpe-coronavirus.htm).
FAQ FFP2 and FFP3 Respirators covers basic information and does not fully cover unique circumstances or requirements. Keep up to date with the latest government advice on PPE and its use.
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