Updated: Aug 10, 2020
Face masks are highly recommended against Covid-19, but you can further increase the level of protection in your organization with certified products. Certified face masks meet local and international product standards. A strict testing process guarantees their quality.
Types of certificates
According to the World Health Organization, medical masks should be certified to ensure they offer predictable product performance when used by health workers, according to the risk and type of procedure performed in a health care setting. The standards vary from country to country. There are various local standards that apply in testing the efficacy of masks such as EN (EU), ASTM (US) and GB (China). Some of the standard tests for protective masks include particle filtration efficiency, bacterial filtration efficiency and antibacterial efficiency tests. Other testing parameters include breathability, flammability, resistance to liquid penetration and fit.
Again, standards vary from region to region. In the EU, the Conformitè Europëenne (CE) mark is required for both medical and non-medical masks, but with different standards. Medical masks are classified as medical devices and must have a CE label affixed. Non-medical masks are not classified as medical devices but must meet the requirements of the EU Personal Protective Equipment Certification EU2016 / 425 (EN149).
In the United States, non-medical masks must be registered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Each country has its own certification bodies and procedures. For instance, mask manufacturers who want to market their products in France need approval by the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and the French Textile & Apparel Institute (IFTH). In Germany, personal protective equipment (PPE) is tested in a multi-stage process developed by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and certification body Tüv Nord.
To guarantee the highest degree of protection for the members of your organization, ensure that you use PPE certified by the relevant bodies in your country.