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Understanding Quality of Masks

Mask Category by NIOSH

NIOSH particulate filter approval Categories


Minimum filter effisciencyN Series

Not resistant to oil

R Series

Somewhat resistant to oil

P Series

Strongly resistant to oil





Understanding Performance of Masks

Quality Parameters of Masks

Important Quality Parameters of masks Explained





Bacterial filtration efficiency 3STM F2101


• Evaluation of filtration efficiencies related to both patient generated aerosols and wearer generated aerosols.

• Higher BFE, better the protection level.

BFE > 95% indicates the Type-I surgical face masks

BFE > 98% indicates the Type-II surgical face masks.

Breathing resistance (∆P) BSEN 13274- 3 - 2001 & EN 143


Used to determine the resistance of airflow through the facemask.

• Lower the breathing resistance values per cm2 higher the comfort


Splash resistance (ASTM F1862-07):

·         Higher splash resistance, better protection
Flammability (16 CFR 1610):


    The materials used in operation theatre will burn if high intensity heat energy is applied to them, especially in the presence of elevated oxygen levels.

· Hence, the flammability test for surgical face masks is essential.

The flame spread characteristics are classified in terms of class 1 to class 4 for the above tests.

·  For NFPA, class 1- slow burning

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