The way we see the world will never be the same again.
This deadly virus has shook the world to its core.
It has made Front Line staff risk their own life like never before.
Not just health care workers, even the general public is fearful and looking for ways to protect themselves.
Wearing a quality mask with an efficient filter is today's Number One Criteria.
The European Union has created a set of requirements for all mask manufactures to adhere to certain standards when producing face masks.
Only those masks that follow these requirements are EU certified.
These EU certified masks are equally valid in the UK as well.
How can a mask be BS EN 14683 compliant?
For a mask to be known as BS EN 14683 compliant, they should meet certain criteria according to the type of mask.
They are certified on the basis of their construction, design & performance, marking ,labelling and packaging.
This requires testing on samples or parts cut out of the finished product.
These masks are classified by European Union into:
- Type I and IR - BFE should be 95%
- Type II and II R - BFE should be 98%
(R denotes that masks are splash resistant)
Construction & design
The masks should have a filtering layer between the outer and inner layer.
The mask must break apart, decay or shred during use.
It should fit and cover the nose, chin and mouth of the wearer properly.
It may have extra features such as a face shield or a nose bridge.
The performance requirements include Bacterial Filtering Efficiency, biocompatibility, cleanliness, differential pressure, filter, and splash resistant.
- BFE - should be on the basis on type of mask (e.g. Type I or Type II)
- Splash resistance - this is the resistance provided by a mask against any liquid droplets or splashes. It is indicated for type II R and it should be minimum 16KPa.
This property is not applicable for type I and II.
- Breathability- this indicates the resistance of airflow provided by the mask.
It should be less than 40Kpa in type I and II, whereas it should be less than 60KPa in type IR & IIR.
- Microbial Cleanliness (Bioburden) - It is a measure of bacteria living on the surface of the mask without being sterilized
It should be ≤ 30 CFU/g.
- Biocompatibility - The mask should align with guidelines in EN ISO 10993-1:2009 and will be tested accordingly for toxicology.
Marking, Labelling and Packaging
The mask should be labelled and contain:
- Number of the European Standard
- Type of mask
Masks that are certified with BS 14683 show that they are authentic and made according to guidelines set by European Union.
This makes the public relaxed about the masks authenticity and reliability and when buying these masks compared to non certified ones.