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Each of these two types of protective masks is subject to different standards and regulations depending on the country or geographical area.
In Europe, they must comply with the European standard EN 14683, which has 3 levels of bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE1, BFE2, Type R). In the United States, they must respect ASTM standards which have three levels of protection (from low risk of exposure to fluids to high risk of exposure to fluids).
In Europe, they must meet the European standard EN 149: 2001 which has three classes of disposable particulate respirators (FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3).
FFP1 refers to the least filtering of the three masks with an aerosol filtration of at least 80% and leakage to the inside of maximum 22%. This mask is mainly used as a dust mask (home renovations and various types of work).
FFP2 masks have a minimum of 94% filtration percentage and maximum 8% leakage to the inside. They are mainly used in construction, agriculture, and by healthcare professionals against influenza viruses. They are currently used for protection against the coronavirus.
FFP3 protective masks are the most filtering mask of the FFPs. With a minimum filtration percentage of 99% and maximum 2% leakage to the inside, they protect against very fine particles such as asbestos.
In the United States, respirators must meet NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) standards. Within this standard, there are several classes of respirators depending on the degree of oil resistance:
Class N: no oil resistance. A distinction is made between N95, N99, and N100. The number after the letter indicates the percentage of filtration of suspended particles.
Class R: mask resistant to oil for up to eight hours. Here again, a distinction is made between R95, R99, and R100.
Class P: a completely oil-resistant mask. There are also P95, P99, and P100.