Prior to COVID-19 the full EN 149:2001 + A1:2009 legislation was in use to provide industry with respiratory protection to FFP3 and FFP2 standards. This meant that dust and particle would be filtered to a level of 99% for FFP3 and 94% for FFP2. Following the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic the World Health Organisation issued guidance for FFP3 or FFP2 half face respirators to be used in aerosol generated environments where COVID-19 was present.
Unfortunately, there were not enough legitimate certified FFP3 and FFP2 masks on the market to supply front-line key workers and supply chain issues commenced. Organisations started to procure respiratory protection which had poor face fitting properties from ear loop securing as opposed to head harness securing. In June 2020, the UK HSE released a bulletin identifying Chinese KN95 masks as sub standard and non-compliant with European conformity. It was advised that KN95 Chinese standard masks should not be used in the UK for protection against COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).
To enable suitable and sufficient respiratory protection to meet supply the European Commission provided emergency legislation which is newly documented in PPE-R/02.075 Version 2. Masks certified under this legislation will be evaluated to provide protection for the COVID 19 / SARS-CoV-2 virus only.
The assessment creates efficiencies in testing, by considering the EN 149 standard, omitting COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) nonspecific parts, and prioritising virus protection thus bringing the correct product to market in order to safe guard our health care and frontline workers.
The full PPE-R/02.075 Version 2 European Legislation can be viewed below via the link.