What is an FFP2 mask?

FFP2 mask is a disposable filter type respiratory protection device that prevents particles (such as dust) and aerosols (such as smaller mists that are invisible to the naked eye). The aerosols released when we cough or breathe may contain viruses (such as H1N1 flu or COVID-19 coronavirus). Aerosols can also be released from industrial equipment (such as air cooling towers) and may contain amoeba and bacteria (such as Legionella that are pathogenic to humans).

What does FFP2 mean? The letters FFP correspond to the English acronym "Filtering Facepiece", which means "filtering mask". The number after the FFP letter corresponds to one of the three types of respiratory protection masks: FFP1, FFP2, FFP3: arranged in order of increasing effectiveness. The effectiveness of the mask is based on the filtering efficiency of the materials that make up the mask, and it also depends on the restriction of air passage between the mask and the face (a properly adjusted mask, that is, a good face shape, will reduce air circulation and is, therefore, more protective).

The protection provided depends on the type of device selected and its proper position on the face:

  • FFP1: minimum 80% aerosol filtration and maximum 25% (average 22%) leakage (the ear strap is usually yellow)
  • FFP2: minimum 94% aerosol filtration and maximum 11% (average 8%) leakage (the ear strap are usually white or blue)
  • FFP3: Minimum 99% aerosol filtration and maximum 5% (average 2%) leakage (the ear strap is usually red)