As the COVID pandemic continues and personal protective equipment start running out, there’s understandable confusion as to what facial masks to use. What is the difference between N95 vs. KN95? Is it safe to use KN95? What is a standard/industrial dust mask vs. surgical/medical grade? What is FPP1, FPP2, FPP3?
We at have compiled this list of resources to help everyone make well-informed choices on what masks to buy, use, or donate.
The bottom line is, with richer countries cornering the N95 market and driving factory prices up, exponential increase in shipping costs, and China tightening requirement for PPE export, what alternatives are accessible, affordable and safe?
1. The US FDA approves use of KN95 due to shortage of N95.
2. N95, KN95 and FPP2 are all similar. There are different names for different countries of origin.
3. Standard N95 masks—classified as dust masks for industrial use—are allowed by CDC for use in health care settings.
“Most HCP caring for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients should not need to use surgical N95 respirators and can use standard N95 respirators. If a surgical N95 is not available for use in operative or procedural settings, then an unvalved N95 respirator may be used with a faceshield to help block high velocity streams of blood and body fluids.”
4. KN95 masks are also classified as standard and medical/surgical. Standard KN95, as the equivalent of standard N95, can also be used in healthcare settings based on parameters given in #3.
Surgical KN95s have the following codes:
– GB 19083-2010 “Technical Requirements for Medical Protective Masks”
– YY 0469-2011 “Medical Surgical Masks”
– YY / T 0969-2013 “Disposable Medical Masks”
Standard KN95s have these codes:
– GB 2626-2006 “Respiratory protective equipment self-priming filter anti-particulate respirator”
– GB / T 32610-2016 “Technical Specifications for Daily Protective Masks”
5. European standard classifies protective face masks/respirators as EN 149:2001+A1:2009 and has 3 classifications:
– FPP1: filters at least 80 % of the particles measuring up to 0.6 μm
– FPP2: filters 94 % of the particles measuring up to 0.6 μm
– FPP3: filter 99% of all particles measuring up to 0.6 μm (when working with oncogenic or radioactive substances or pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungal spores FFP3-class respirator masks are recommended)
6. 3M manufactures BOTH KN95 and N95 masks. 3M is also one the most counterfeited.
Check your 3M N95 through:
7. Learn how to spot counterfeit masks:
IAHV continues to distribute N95/KN95 masks to our frontline workers. As of this posting, we have distributed 33,422 pcs. of N95/KN95 masks, of which 19,390 pcs were donated to government hospitals and agencies.
SM Aura branch
International Association for Human Values Foundation (Philippines), Inc.