Unlike mouth and nose coverings or surgical masks, which primarily protect other people, tested class FFP2 or FFP3 respiratory protective devices protect the wearers themselves against the inhalation of pathogens. For this reason, individual citizens are also increasingly choosing to use such masks. Reports of untested, defective or fake FFP2 masks on sale are giving rise to concern.
The risk of purchasing a fake or defective product can, however, be minimized. There are five key characteristics that help identify a genuine certified mask. These characteristics must be stated on each certified respiratory mask:
- CE marking of the mask. This must always be followed by a four-digit code. The code denotes the body carrying out annual surveillance.
- Indication of the protection class (FFP2 or FFP3). The additional letters R or NR denote whether the mask can be re-used at the workplace.
- Manufacturer’s name.
- Product name.
- Reference to European Standard EN 149, against which the mask was tested.
In addition, documents accompanying the product provide a good indication that a mask has been properly approved, since these documents are a legal requirement. They include the certificate, the instructions for use (in German in Germany) and the declaration of conformity.
The IFA has summarized the key characteristics on a poster. Further guidance on certified masks and their identifying characteristics is also given in a list of frequently asked questions, to which a link is also provided on the poster.