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PROTECT U® – GUIDE TO RESPIRATORY MASKS
This is to certify that for any airborne particulate contamination such as an outbreak of PM2.5 / PM 10/ Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Avian Flu, Ebola Virus etc. only respirators and not Masks, should be used to safeguard oneself from getting any kind of respiratory diseases.
The biggest difference between a respirator and a surgical mask is the intended use. Respirators are designed to help reduce the wearer’s respiratory exposure to airborne contaminants such as particles that are small enough to be inhaled - particles less than 100 microns (µm) in size.
This includes airborne particles that may contain biological material, e.g. mold, Bacillus anthracis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the virus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Avian Flu, Ebola Virus etc. or even PM2.5 / PM10.
Surgical masks on the other hand do not have either adequate filtering or fitting attributes to provide respiratory protection for the wearer. They are designed to help prevent contamination of the work environment or sterile field from large particles generated by the wearer (e.g. spit, mucous).
Surgical masks may also be used to help reduce the risk of splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions and excretions from reaching the wearer’s mouth and nose. Respirator types and standards For protection against volcanic ash, high-efficiency, light-weight disposable respirators are appropriate.
The respirator must provide protection at the highest concentration the person will experience. Suitable disposable respirators are ‘CE’ marked to show that the design has been tested to a recognized standard. They will also be marked with the standard (e.g. EN 149:2001 in the EU or N95 in the US) and an additional code such as FFP2 (medium efficiency) or FFP3 (high efficiency) (FFP = Filtering Face Piece) is shown on EU respirators.
The US N95 standard is roughly equivalent to FFP2 or 3 as it is efficient up to 10 x the local occupational exposure limit (see Table below). The higher the FFP number, the more protection the respirator can provide if it is used properly. Disposable respirators cover the nose, mouth and part of the chin. Some of them contain exhaling valves.
An elastic band around the head and neck keeps them in place. Valved respirators are more comfortable, especially for those wearing spectacles which might otherwise mist up. They are appropriate for hot and humid climates. 3M Personal Safety Division 48-51 Electronics City Hosur Road Bangalore – 560100 Karnataka - INDIA Page 2 of 3 In conclusion, surgical masks in effect put a barrier between the wearer and the work environment or sterile field.
They may help keep spit and mucous generated by the wearer from reaching a patient or medical equipment. They can also be used as a fluid barrier to help keep blood splatter from reaching the wearer’s mouth and nose. However, surgical masks cannot provide respiratory protection unless they are also designed, tested and NIOSH approved as a respirator. If a wearer wants to reduce inhalation of smaller, inhalable particles (those smaller than 100 microns), they need to obtain and properly use a NIOSH-certified respirator.
If the wearer needs a combination surgical mask and a particulate respirator, they should use a product that is both cleared by FDA as a surgical mask and tested by NIOSH as a particulate respirator. An in-depth comparison of surgical masks and respirators is outlined below. Key Differences between Masks and Respirators
Filter particles from the air when properly fitted, helping reduce the number of particles or germs the wearer breathes in. • Ideal for protection from PM 2.5 • Have the word NIOSH / EN / ISI and the approval type (i.e. N95; FFP2 etc.) printed on the product. • Are secured tightly to the face, with 2 head straps and a nose adjustable clip over the nose to allow for a more custom fit.
Are cleared by the FDA for use as a surgical mask and are NOT designed to protect your lungs from airborne hazards like PM 2.5. • Do not have the word NIOSH / EN / ISI and the approval type (i.e. N95; FFP2 etc) printed on the product. • Are typically donned for a specific procedure (eg surgery by a surgeon) and disposed of afterward. • Help prevent large particles expelled by the wearer, such as spit or mucous, from entering the environment. If the wearer coughs or sneezes, the surgical mask will help collect the larger particles expelled. • Usually do not fit tightly to the face as there might be gaps around the edges
Are not cleared by the FDA for use as a surgical mask and are NOT designed to protect your lungs from airborne hazards like PM 2.5. • Do not have the word NIOSH and the approval type (i.e. N95) printed on the product. • Have not been tested to any government performance standards for filtration. • Usually have only 1 head strap. • Do not fit tightly to the face as there might be gaps around the edges.
Article Posted: 18/02/2020 13:46:11