As you might have read in the news in a lot of countries, many masks that got imported during the Covid-19 pandemic turned out to be ineffective once they got tested in a proper lab. As filtration is nothing an eye can see, without a laboratory test it is hard to determine if a mask truly complies with the regulatory requirements.
Also, the difference in regulatory requirements between countries makes a mask that is approved for use in one country potentially not approved in another.
It is therefore key that you check
- If a mask has obtained a proper test result (hygienic and surgical masks) or CE certification (FFP masks)
- What standard the mask complies with [insert article link]. EU and US standards are the highest among the most common masks, Chinese standards tend to be on the lower end. Also beware that the “GB” standard that some KN95/N95 masks refer to is not related to Great Britain, but a Chinese norm.
Then, beyond compliance and test results, on a much more basic level check the filtration capacity of the mask. There are masks that disclose a lot of interesting information on their packaging, but lack clear disclosure on the topics mentioned above. Beware if the following points are not mentioned:
- Type of mask
- Applicable norm
- If surgical or Hygienic: BFE
- If FFP: CE certificate and number of notified body