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Ultimate FAQ Guide ToFFP1 Mask
Filtering Face Piece Masks (FFP) provides respiratory protection from the impurities present in the air.
These masks filter out all the hazardous particles and ensure you breathe clean air.
FFP masks are of three types including FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3.
If you have a question about FFP1 masks, you have come to the right place.
This ultimate FAQ guide will tell you all that you need to know about FFP1 masks.
- What Is A FFP Mask?
- What Are The Components Of A FFP1 Mask?
- Why Do You Need To Wear A FFP1 Mask?
- What Are The Different Quality Standards Available For FFP1 Mask?
- What Are The Extra Indications On A FFP1 Mask?
- In Which Industries Are FFP1 Masks Mostly Used?
- How Can You Properly Wear A FFP1 Mask?
- What Is A Fitting Test?
- What Is The Effective Life Of A FFP1 Mask?
- How Much Does A FFP1 Mask Cost?
- Is It Uncomfortable To Wear A FFP1 Mask?
- Can FFP1 Masks Provide Protection Against Virus And Bacteria?
What Is A FFP Mask?
A Filtering Face Mask is a respiratory mask used to protect you against the hazardous particulate matter and various viruses present in the air.
You can use it as a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The mask is a half-face mask and covers your mouth, chin, and nose.
Most pollutants enter our body through our nose or mouth.
An FFP1 mask protects us from inhaling solid particles, aerosols, and droplets.
OEL is the maximum concentration of hazardous substances allowed in the workplace and it is 4X the concentration limit for a FFP1 mask.
ASF is the level of protection the respirators provide the user at his workplace which is also 4X the concentration limit for a FFP1 mask.
The aerosol filtration is a minimum of 80% in these masks while the leakage on the inside is a maximum of 22%.
These masks are primarily used as a dust mask.
What Are The Components Of A FFP1 Mask?
These masks are made up of fabrics fit for filtering dust particles.
The two important components of an FFP1 mask are:
The FFP1 masks have a facepiece usually made of cloth.
The cloth needs to be soft and comfortable to wear.
You will find that metal clips or strings secure the facepiece around the wearer’s face.
Facepieces can be of different shapes and sizes according to the requirements of the user.
· Filtering Device
There is a filtering device attached to the facepiece of the mask.
The effectiveness of the filtering device determines the efficiency of the mask.
· Exhalation Valve
Exhalation valves make breathing comfortable for the wearer.
With the help of this valve, the air inside the mask condenses quickly.
This prevents the moisture from settling inside the filter.
You will find that masks with an exhalation valve are bulkier than usual masks.
If no exhalation valve is present, then this means the filtration system is integrated with the fabric.
These masks are lighter to wear.
Filter device and exhalation valve
Why Do You Need To Wear A FFP1 Mask?
You might end up inhaling harmful particles without even knowing it.
These dust particles can reach your lungs and settle there.
Accumulation of these dust particles can cause various respiratory tract infections.
Along with dust particles, many hazardous particles are released into the air.
Breathing these harmful particles can have serious consequences in the long run.
Here’s why you need to wear an FFP1 mask:
· Protection From Liquid And Solid Aerosols
Liquid and solid aerosols irritate the respiratory tract.
Aerosols are suspensions in the air or another gas.
If you work in the laboratory environment, you may work with lots of liquid and solid aerosols that can get into your body through your mouth and nose.
Fog and mist are natural aerosols.
Long-term exposure can lead to the development of severe allergies and asthma.
- Protection Against Dust Particles
Factories and industries produce a lot of dust in the workplace.
Some workers might not wear an FFP1 mask while working.
These dust particles cause allergies, and the workers might face difficulty while breathing.
Some people have lost their lives due to respiratory problems after long-term exposure to dust particles.
Wearing an FFP1 mask can protect you from developing painful coughs, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
It will also help you in keeping your lungs in good health in the long run.
· Protection From Hazardous Particles
Factories also release particulate matter that can be hazardous for human health.
If the size of the particulate matter is not less than 6 µm, then your FFP1 mask can filter it.
These particles can lead to terminal conditions like lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD damages your lungs over time and causes long-term cough.
What Are The Different Quality Standards Available For FFP1 Mask?
Considering the harmful effects of air pollution, an FFP1 mask should be of superior quality.
If you are a factory worker, you may use these masks daily.
Hence, the masks should be effective in providing you the protection that you need at their workplace.
To ensure this, certain quality standards need to be met to monitor the quality of FFP1 masks.
These quality standards are strictly followed by companies that manufacture them.
The quality standards for FFP1 are:
· EN 149 Standard
The first version of this standard was released in 2001.
This standard gives the minimum requirement any respiratory equipment needs to fulfill before being used.
Laboratory tests, field tests, are a part of these standards.
The masks are analysed based on the following points:
- The material used to design the FFP1 mask
- Leakage includes both inside leakage and penetration to the outside of the mask
- Practical performance of the FFP1 mask
- Packaging of the mask
· 2009 Version
This is an enhancement of the previous standard and a few additional checkpoints have been added.
Abbreviations are added after the FFP1 mask.
These abbreviations are:
- R- This stands for reusable. This is added when the FFP1 mask can be used for more than one day.
- NR- This stands for non-reusable. This is added if the filtering half mask cannot be used for more than one day.
FFP1 masks are a part of personal protective equipment.
The following disclaimers should be present on every mask:
- Name of manufacture
- Reference of the mask
- CE number from the certification body
- Acronym (NR, R)
If any of these are missing, the masks do not go to the market.
Disclaimers on the FFP1 mask
What Are The Extra Indications On A FFP1 Mask?
Apart from the reusable and non-reusable indications, some extra indications are also present on the masks.
These indications help you choose the right mask according to your requirements.
The indications are as follows:
D stands for the Dolomite test which tests if breathing resistance is still maintained even after the FFP1 mask has been subjected to a large amount of Dolomite dust.
You will find that such masks are more resistant to clogging.
These masks are also more breathable.
V indicates the presence of a valve for exhalation.
The valve maintains the CO2 and moisture level inside the mask to a minimum.
This indication is for masks that pass the Dolomite test and have a valve.
In Which Industries Are FFP1 Masks Mostly Used?
A common use of an FFP1 mask is to protect against dust released at the workplace.
FFP1 masks are mainly used by workers in environments with a lot of dust.
If you are working in a dusty environment, you would wear a FFP1 mask to protect yourself.
· Surface Mining
Mining puts the lives of the workers in great danger and there is exposure to harmful air contaminants regularly.
Hence, you need to follow proper protection methods.
Workers wear the mask with the helmet for complete protection.
In the case of no masks, workers have a high chance of suffering from silicosis.
Inhaling silica dust is the major cause of silicosis.
Worker with FFP1 mask in mines
If you are in construction, you will need superior personal protection equipment.
The dust levels are high at a place where construction is taking place.
Dust from bricks, cement, and wooden peels off can irritate the respiratory tract and difficulty in breathing.
Wearing an FFP1 mask during construction blocks any contaminants from entering the nasal passage.
You might think farming involves working in the fresh air.
However, agriculture can cause lots of respiratory hazards to farmers.
Pesticide vapors, dusty fields, and small grains enter the body through the nasal passage.
This leads to sneezing and redness of the respiratory tract.
Over time this can cause scarring of the lung tissues.
This can damage your lungs permanently.
Hence, you will need to wear an FFP1 mask while working in the fields.
- Textile Industry
If you work in textile industries, you face exposure to organic dust.
This includes hemp, flax, and cotton dust.
This leads to a health condition known as Byssinosis.
Byssinosis involves shortness of breath in the initial stages.
Later it can cause permanent loss of lung function, and the worker has to retire.
An FFP1 can filter out the dust and ensure the wearer breaths clean air at work.
Cotton dust factory
All manufacturing industries make use of large machinery that can cause lots of dust to accumulate in the factory.
Wearing a mask can prevent these particles from entering the lungs and causing further damage.
Manufacturing industries include paper industry, automotive, food, and beverages, metal fabrication, etc.
How Can You Properly Wear A FFP1 Mask?
The FFP1 mask is easy to wear.
They should be comfortable and soft on the skin.
Not wearing it properly can affect the level of protection the mask provides.
These are the steps you need to follow while wearing an FFP1 mask.
Make sure the FFP1 mask you are going to wear is clean and sterile.
Clean your hands with a hand sanitizer or soap before wearing the FFP1 mask.
Put the strings around your ears carefully.
Make sure the elastic is neither tight nor loose.
Adjust the filtration piece to ensure it does not hamper your vision.
Do not touch the mask with your hands to keep it clean.
This video shows you how to wear the FFP1 mask.
What Is A Fitting Test?
There should be a good seal between the mask and the face.
Fit tests ensure that you can wear the mask and work without trouble.
Improper fitting impacts the safety power of the FFP1 mask.
In qualitative fit testing, experts expose the wearer to different concentration of aerosols which the wearer can detect.
This ensures the aerosol cannot penetrate the mask.
The aerosol levels inside and outside the mask are compared to measure the efficiency of the mask.
What Is The Effective Life Of A FFP1 Mask?
Your manufacturer can provide you the effective life of the mask depending upon the filtering device in the mask.
It can range between three to eight hours for non-reusable FFP1 masks.
This also depends on the concentration of a contaminant at the workplace.
Using a face shield on top of an FFP1 mask can prolong its life.
For reusable masks, you can clean the masks once the filtration device is full.
The kind of filtration device used determines the intervals that you need to clean it.
How Much Does A FFP1 Mask Cost?
The FFP1 masks are high-quality, durable materials.
You will find that the quality of the filtration piece determines the cost of the mask.
The softness of the facepiece also contributes to the cost.
If the mask has an exhalation valve, the mask is more expensive.
FFP1 is cheaper than FFP2 and FFP3 masks which have more filtration levels.
Is It Uncomfortable To Wear A FFP1 Mask?
No, it is not if you wear it properly.
The FFP1 masks consist of light-weight clothes that are breathable.
Make sure the facepiece is not loose and covers your face properly.
Check the moisture level while breathing.
You may get imprints of the facepiece below your eyes if it is too tight.
Marks due to tight masks
Can FFP1 Masks Provide Protection Against Virus And Bacteria?
FFP1 masks can protect you against low levels of dust.
However, they can’t filter out bacteria or viruses as they are microscopic.
FFP2 and FFP3 masks can provide that kind of protection against virus and bacteria.