What is the difference between FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 face masks or respirators?

Mark Williams | | December 2, 2021

FFP1, the most basic, is often used for DIY tasks such as sanding.  It offers protection against non-toxic substances such as pollen, limestone cement and brick dust.

 

FFP2, or n95 masks provide greater protection than FFP1 and is recommended during outbreaks of SARS, coronavirus and avian flu.  It also protects against deleterious substances such as smoke, aerosols and lead dust.  FFP2 masks are popular in metal, mining, agricultural industries, as well as healthcare workers to protect from influenza.

 

FFP3, the highest level of protection when exposed to environmental hazardous substances.  FFP3 protects against viruses, bacteria, asbestos and other toxins.  It is also used for handling hazardous pharmaceutical chemicals by healthcare professionals.

 

FFP3 FFP2 FFP1
Protection Protects from solid aerosols and/or liquids listed as toxic Protects from slightly toxic or irritating solid aerosols and/or liquids Protects from non-toxic dust and/or water-based aerosols.
Example of Application Sanding of hard wood (beech, oak), treatment of wood using copper, chrome or arsenic based products, impact stripping of paint, sanding of cement. Sanding of soft wood, composite materials, rust, putty, plaster, plastics/cutting, milling, grinding, metal drilling Handling of stone, rubble, cellulose, concrete drilling.
Substances Asbestos (without handling it), powered pesticide, biological, pharmaceutical, powder, treated wood, hard wood (exotic), chromium, lime, lead. Untreated softwood, grinding, cutting, welding, milling, coal, glass fiber, mineral fiber, powdered pesticide, grain dust. Flour, calcium carbonate (chalk), graphite, cotton, dust concrete
% Min of Filtration 99% 94% 80%
Total Inward Leakage (TIL) 2% 8% 22%
Nominal Protection Factor (NPF) 50 x TLV 12,5 x TLV 4,5 x TLV
Assigned Protection Factor (APF) 20 x TLV 10 x TLV 4 x TLV

*  Threshold Limit Value (TLV)