There are 3 governing bodies that have standards – the US standards, by the ASTM and also CDC/NIOSH standards. There is also the European standards, then the chinese standards.
ASTM Standards + CDC/NIOSH:
The ASTM has 3 levels of certification – ASTM level 1,2 and 3. Each has certain minimum requirements. NIOSH has a stringent certification process, which few factories have gone through, even if they have gone through CE certification.
The CE has 3 levels of certification – FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.
These disposable N95 respirator masks are certified as FFP2, as well as KN95’s by the Chinese government.
See more about the difference between N95’s and KN95’s here:
Breaking News – FDA now approves hospitals to use KN95’s:
Due to the lack of availability of N95’s, and slow production rates, the FDA has now approved hospitals to purchase KN95’s.
Beware of fakes/non-certified masks:
Unfortunately, there are many scammers galore with the current mask shortage. We buy factory direct, ensure that the factory has all of the required certifications and inspect all of the boxes before they leave the factory.
There are many sellers online that are selling face masks that aren’t certified. Please make sure to check before you buy.
What should a medical practitioner use?
Ideally, medical practitioners should be using respirator masks. These masks have a much smaller particulate filter. They do require experience tightening properly, but ensure that a minimum of 98% of bacteria can not penetrate the mouth. It is also advised that practitioners use eye goggles or face shields.
In terms of certification, the CDC has a NIOSH certification, and those masks are called “N95’s”. There are very few companies that are actually NIOSH certified. In CE certification, those are called FFP2’s.
Due to the scarcity of masks that are certified, the FDA has released guidelines allowing KN95’s (the chinese equivalent) to be used by practitioners.