Filtering Facepieces (FFPs) are disposable Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) for protection against dusts, particles and aerosols. They are often referred to as 'disposable dust masks', are widely used, and generally require no cleaning or maintenance. They are available in three classes: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3, with the higher numbers corresponding to better filtering efficiency. As with all types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sold in the UK, they must comply with the EU PPE Directive 89/686/EEC. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer or person placing the RPE on the European single market to ensure compliance. For FFPs this is invariably achieved by compliance with the harmonised standard EN149:2001+A1:2009.
This report describes market surveillance testing of samples of ten FFP3 respirator models from ten different manufacturers that are available on the UK market. The aim was to determine whether each sample meets a range of health and safety performance requirements required by the standard. Only five of the ten models passed all tests with no faults or failures. Two models had an isolated fault on a single sample, one of which was very serious, rendering the respirator ineffective. Three models had multiple faults, two of them serious. The information provided with the masks by the manufacturers was generally acceptable, although four out of the ten manufacturers included no or limited information on pre-use checks.
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