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How to Choose the Proper Masks for COVID 19?

13 comments

Wearing the proper the face mask is a very effective method to protect us during the serious COVID-19 epidemic. But we can find so many kinds of masks(GB 19083-2010, GB 2626-2006, YY 0469, YY/T 0969) in the market, which one is truly effective and which type of face masks can really protective us?

Table of Content

  1. 1. Protective efficiency
  2. 2. How face masks protect us?
  3. 3. What kind of face masks to choose?
  4. 4. Difference between the different mask types

Protective efficiency

The easiest method to choose the masks is according to the mask types of standard requires:

N99>N95/KN95>N90>Surgical masks (Ⅰ)>Surgical masks (Ⅱ)

When we choose the masks, we only need to choose the mark of N9X or the surgical masks. They will be enough for our daily protection during the epidemic.

how to choose proper masks for covid-19

How face masks protect us?

No matter what kind of masks we choose, we have to choose the masks made of melt-blown nonwoven fabric with 0.5 to 1.0 μm fiber fineness. The masks are made of other materials can not protect us from the virus.

melt-blown nonwoven fabric

The COVID-19 virus is 50nm to 100nm, it is smaller than 0.3μm (300nm). But the COVID-19 virus is in the droplets or mist as aerosol in the air. The aerosol is bigger than 0.3μm (300nm), so the masks can stop the virus entering the respiratory system.

picture of covid-19 virus

What kind of face masks to choose?

All the masks will have marking with the standards the manufacturing followed with. So it is an easy way to check the performed standards on the package of the masks. We will find many different marks on the package, how to choose the right one?

Here is a table for the parameters of different standards.

Standard GB 19083-2010 GB 2626-2006 YY 0469 YY/T 0969
Protective face mask for medical use Respiratory protective equipment Surgical mask Single use medical face mask
Scope Medical use for filtering particle in air, droplets resistance, blood resistance, body fluid resistance and others. Protection for particles, dust, fume, mist, microorganism and others. Clinical protect for invasive procedure Clinical protect for normal situation and breathing hazards
BFE Bacterial filtration efficiency ≥95% ≥95%
PFE Particle filtration efficiency 0.3μm particles
85L/min 30±2L/min
N (NaCl) particles:

Grade 1≥95%

Grade 2≥99%

Grade3≥ 99.97%

N(NaCl) particles:      KN 90≥90%

KN 95≥95%

KN 100≥99.97%

 

P (Paraffin oil) particles:

KP 90≥90%

KP 95≥95%

KP 100≥99.97%

≥30%
Resistance to synthetic blood penetration No penetration to 80mmHg pressure of 2ml synthetic blood No penetration to 120mmHg pressure of 2ml synthetic blood

For the protection of virus, we have to check the particle filtration efficiency. The PFE is over 90% can provide effective protect for our daily life. Which means N95 or KN95 masks are proper for our daily protection. KN 90 is also a great choice and better the normal masks.

Difference between the different mask types

There are many masks types in the market with mark of N9X or KN9X or marked with different standards such as NIOSH, GB 2626, GB 19083, GB/T 32610, etc. What’s the difference?

KN9X are for GB 19083 and GB 2626 which are Chinese standards. GB 2626 is for respiratory protective equipment for industry use and GB 19083 is for respiratory protective mask for medical use. Masks for GB 19083 requires synthetic blood penetration resistance performance because it is used in medical environment. But the masks for the both standards can meet the requirements for particles filtration efficiency. KN9X for GB 2626 is okay for our daily life. The masks marked with GB 19083 are mostly supplied for the clinic staff.

NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) has three grades (N95 for 95% efficiency, N99 for 99% efficiency, N100 for 99.97 efficiency.) for different test particles. N means Not resistant to oil. R means Resistant to oil. P means oil Proof.

When we are in the low risks environment like working area, school or other public area, disposable surgical use face masks or above grades can protect us.

When we are in medium risks environment like going to the general clinic, densely populated place, police man, express workers, Surgical masks (Ⅰ) or above is a better choice.

When we are in high risks environment like going to the fever clinic or going to the place there are suspected person or confirmed cases, KN90 for GB 2626 and above can provide solid protection for us.

There is a very important thing for the choosing of masks. If you don’t feel well or have suspected symptoms, do not choose the masks with breathing valve. Because the masks with breathing is good for protecting ourselves but not good for protecting others.

Comments (13)

    13 reviews for How to Choose the Proper Masks for COVID 19?

  1. MHi, May I know about the standard
    GB/T 32610-2016?

    Reply
    • Do you mean you need the standard file?

      Reply
  2. What is GB/T 32610-2016 BFE % & PFE % ?

    Can GB/T 32610-2016 prevent corona virus ?

    Is GB/T 32610-2016 called as hygine mask that only good during haze ?

    Reply
    • BFE is bacterial filtration efficiency and PFE is particle filtration efficiency. BFE is required for medical use mask. For corona virus, N95/KN95 or above is better choice. But the class A GB/T 32610 is also a choice for daily use, working place or home. If you go to the high risk place, you would better choose N95/KN95 and eyes protector.

      Reply
  3. What if the masks just say “GB/T 32610-2016” on the box and on the sticker inside? There’s no mention of a grade or class.

    Thanks for this information by the way! It’s been very helpful.

    Reply
    • I also have this question. I have yet to find a manufacturer who clarifies what Grade, Class, or Level their GB/T 32610-2016 product complies with, nor who publishes the PFE (with or without clarifying the particle size, for those people who have not read the standard), which is what the educated consumer is interested in. thank you very much for publishing this info, especially about GB/T 32610-2016 which is confusing and hard to find information about. Many thanks!

      Reply
    • The absence of meaningful responses means: do not buy those GB /T32610-2016 masks.

      Reply
  4. Hi, I am hoping for guidance on how to tell if the KN95 masks are authentic and not counterfeit. Any advice?

    Reply
    • You can ask third party test report from your supplier, generally speaking, the third party report will display the particle filtration efficiency, then you will know the KN95 is authentic or not.

      Reply
  5. When you look up ASTM Levels 1, 2, and 3 for face masks you can find Ratings for Fluid Resistance, Fitration Efficiency (BFE & PFE) Breathability and Flame Spread. When you look up the GB/T32610-2016 standards for levels A,B,C,and D there does not seem to be a similar listing of performance. I am not even finding a general description of expected use. I believe I am most interested in the level D code but what I am really looking for is what level should I look for to provide general public exposure protection for COVID 19 – Thankyou

    Reply
  6. Mask Specification search When you look up ASTM Levels 1, 2, and 3 for face masks you can find Ratings for Fluid Resistance, Fitration Efficiency (BFE & PFE) Breathability and Flame Spread. When you look up the GB/T32610-2016 standards for levels A,B,C,and D there does not seem to be a similar listing of performance. I am not even finding a general description of expected use. I believe I am most interested in the level D code but what I am really looking for is what level should I look for to provide general public exposure protection for COVID 19 – Thankyou

    Reply
  7. Hi, I have seen this product: Heiq Viroblock (see heiq.com/technologies/heiq-viroblock/ ).
    I’m interested in it because the material should be washable. But I’m unsure how good it is compared to classic masks. How would you estimate the efficiency of this material? Can it be compared to FFP2/KN95 or even FFP3 masks?

    Reply
  8. here is a specification for GB/T 32610-2016, https://www.sesec.eu/app/uploads/2020/04/GB-T-32610-2016-Technical-specification-of-daily-protective-mask.pdf

    Reply

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