ASTM Levels and Their Importance to your Mask Selections!

In the healthcare setting, choosing the appropriate face mask is a key component in minimizing the spread of potentially infectious diseases. However, choosing the correct mask can be a difficult task considering the different options, prices, and brands that are out on the market.

 

Well then, what criteria should you use when choosing a face mask? The FDA, who oversees the sale and marketing of all surgical masks, recommends that manufacturers demonstrate mask performance in 4 areas:

  • Fluid Resistance
  • Differential Pressure
  • Filter Efficiency
  • Flammability

 

ASTM International has been long-held as one of the largest standards for the testing of face masks in these 4 areas and is recognized by the FDA. According to ASTM Standard F2100-11, there are 3 different levels of protection.

 

Below is brief guide breaking down the appropriate level mask for the procedure at hand.

Minimum Protection Ideal as a simple barrier for exams and short procedures that do not produce fluid, spray or aerosols. Click here for Minimum Protection Masks.
Level 1 Ideal for procedures where low amounts of fluid, spray and/or aerosols are produced. Click here for ASTM Level 1 Masks.
Level 2 Ideal for procedures where low to moderate amounts of fluid, spray and/or aerosols are produced. Click here for ASTM Level 2 Masks.
Level 3 Ideal for procedures where moderate to heavy amounts of fluid, spray and/or aerosols are produced. Click here for ASTM Level 3 Masks.

 

And here's a guide that shows the specific data required in order to be labeled a ASTM Performance mask. Below is brief guide breaking down the appropriate level mask for the procedure at hand.

 

ASTM F2100-11 Standards

ASTM Level 1 Mask

ASTM Level 2 Mask

ASTM Level 3 Mask

Fluid Resistance, mmHg

80

120

160

BFE

≥95%

≥98%

≥98%

PFE, @ 0.1 micron

≥95%

≥98%

≥98%

Delta P, mm H20/cm2

< 4.0

< 5.0

< 5.0

Flame Spread

Class 1

Class 1

Class 1

 

How do you know if your face mask will protect you from infectious microorganisms? Look at the package! The new ASTM F2100-11 standard requires a graphic display on the packaging stating the mask performance level. ASTM International levels of protection are a well-known guide used to select the mask design, fit and filtration that matches the protection needed for each procedure or risk level.

 

Taking all of this information into account and also guidelines provided by the ADA, CDC or OSHA can assist with appropriate mask selection.

 

For additional help on choosing the correct mask visit InfectionControlProducts.comemail us, or call 800-366-0973 to talk to one of our friendly, knowledgeable representatives.