skip to Main Content
face mask

Antiviral Face Mask for Filtering Covid-19: Full Analysis of Nine Standards

As of April 28, 2020, Covid-19 has infected more than 3 million people and killed more than 200,000 people, very serious. Wearing an antiviral face mask is an effective means of protection against viruses, so what are antiviral face masks available?

Type Labour protective masks Medical Masks Disposable protective masks
Standards China, GB 2626
EU, EN149: 2001+A1
USA, NIOSH Standards-(Title 42 CFR Part 84)
YY/T 0969, YY 0469, GB19083
EU: EN 14683
Type Ia, Type II, Type IIR
Level 1, level 2, level 3
China, GB/T 32610
Levels A, B, C, D
Application Used in construction, industry and other polluting industries to filter particulate matter. Used in the medical industry to prevent liquid penetration and filter bacteria. Used in everyday life to
filter particulate matter
in air-polluted environments.
Description China: KN, KP series
USA: N, R, P series
Each of the three Chinese standards
represents three levels and Europe and
the United States are writing the three levels
into one standard. Different levels
are used for different risk levels.
In European and American countries,
there is no habit of wearing masks in
normal life, there is no relevant
standard, and there is a general reluctance to wear masks during an epidemic.
Remarks Washable and sterilizable No expiration valves, no cleaning Single-use

 First of all, we need to fully understand what standards the masks have and the filtration performance of each standard. 

1 What is a labor protective mask? What are their characteristics? Comparison of the various standards.

Labor protective masks, also known as self-absorbing filtered particulate matter respirators. It is an important protection against pneumoconiosis and occupational diseases, as well as respiratory inhalation protection against harmful substances such as oxygen-deficient air and dust poisoning. There are three types of disposable masks, replaceable half masks, and full masks, as follows.

antiviral face masks 01

Disposable masks are lighter in weight and are generally single-use products; replaceable masks are heavier in weight and have replaceable filter elements in the inner layer. Labor protective masks are mainly used in construction, mining, foundry, woodworking, electronics, pharmaceuticals, material handling, and grinding operations to protect the dust generated.

The standard of labor protective masks is GB 2626-2006, the main performance of filtration efficiency, breathing resistance, expiratory valve, visual field, headband, etc. Of these, the most important filter efficiency performance is compared as follows.

The standards for labor protective masks generally refer to GB 2626-2006, EN 149, NIOSH Standards – Title 42 CFR Part 84. The most significant filter efficiency performance comparisons are as follows.

Conditions and requirements GB 2626 EN 149 NIOSH Standards –
Title 42 CFR Part 84
Non-oily particulate matter (NaCl) KN90≥90%
Oily particles (DOP or paraffin oil) KP90≥90%
Remarks NaCl concentration was (10±2)mg/m³ and oil particulate matter concentration was (20~30)mg/m³. Citing BS EN13274, particulate matter concentrations of (4~12)mg/m³ NaCl particles, oily DOP or paraffin oil, test flow rate 85L/Min.

2 What are medical masks? What are their characteristics? Comparison of the various standards.

Medical masks are mostly made of one or more layers of non-woven composite fabric, the main production process includes melt spray, spunbond, hot air or needle puncture, etc. It has the effect of resisting liquids, filtering particles and bacteria, and is a medical protective textile. Medical masks can be divided into general medical masks, medical-surgical masks, medical protective masks.

antiviral face masks 02Chinese standards:

Main performance indicators General medical masks Medical-surgical masks Medical protective masks
Standards YY/T 0969 YY 0469 GB 19083
Particulate filtration efficiency Unspecified ≥30% Level 1 ≥95%
Level 2 ≥99%
Level 3 ≥99.97%
Bacterial filtration efficiency Not less than 95% Not less than 95% Unspecified
blood penetration Not required 120mmHg 80mmHg
Note: Bacterial filtration is to prevent bacteria from infecting the patient and blood penetration is to keep the patient’s blood from splashing. Wear it in a general medical setting to block the exhalation or ejection of contaminants from the mouth or nose. It is worn by clinical operators during invasive operations, etc., to prevent spattering of blood or infection of patients. In a medical work environment, filters particulate matter in the air and blocks droplets, blood, body fluids, secretions, etc.

EU and USA standards:

Main performance indicators EN 14683 ASTM F2100
Particulate filtration efficiency Unspecified Unspecified
Bacterial filtration efficiency Type Ia ≥95%
Type II ≥98%
Type IIR ≥98%
Low ≥95%
Moderate ≥98%
High ≥98%
Blood penetration Type Ia, Type II, not required
Type IIR, 120mmHg
Low, 80mmHg
Moderate, 120mmHg
High, 160mmHg

Note: [Unspecified], means that the absence of a direct reference to this indicator in the corresponding criterion does not imply a complete lack of protective capacity in this case.

3 What is a disposable protective mask? What is the characteristic?

In daily life, various suspended particulate matter in the atmosphere can affect people’s health, especially in places with high air pollution, we need to wear face masks that can filter particulate matter. Since Europe and the United States do not have the habit of wearing a mask in ordinary life, there is no relevant standard, therefore, only the Chinese standard GB 32610 here.

antiviral face masks 03

Filtration efficiency level saline medium oily medium
Class Ⅰ ≥99% ≥99%
Class Ⅱ ≥95% ≥95%
Class Ⅲ ≥90% ≥80%

Bacterial filtration and particulate filtration for different standard antiviral face masks

Standard / Filter type bacterial filtration particulate filtration Types of face masks
GB 2626 unspecified see above KN90, KN95, KN100
EN 149 unspecified see above FFP1, FFP2, FFP3
NIOSH Standards –
Title 42 CFR Part 84
unspecified see above N95, N99, N100
YY/T 0969 see above unspecified Disposable medical masks
YY 0469 see above see above Medical-surgical masks
GB 19083 unspecified see above Medical protective masks
EN 14683 see above unspecified Medical masks
ASTM F2100 see above unspecified Medical masks
GB 32610 unspecified see above Daily protective masks

As can be seen from the table, medical masks are mainly used to filter bacteria and do not have mandatory requirements for particulate matter. Labor protective masks and daily protective masks are primarily used to filter particulate matter and there is no mandatory requirement for bacterial filtration.


 So, what kind of face masks can filter out viruses exactly? What are the dos and don’ts of wearing an antiviral face mask? 

1 What is the difference between medical masks and non-medical protective masks?

Due to the peculiarities of the medical environment, when medical personnel operates on patients, it is necessary to prevent bacteria from infecting the patient and also to prevent the spilling of bodily fluids from the patient. Medical masks need to meet the following three conditions, filter bacteria, prevent blood spatter, and cannot have a breathing valve. These three conditions are not directly related to antiviral.

2 Why can anti-particle masks be used to antiviral? Is it mandatory to use a medical mask for protection 2019-nCoV?

It must be understood that viruses cannot exist in air species alone and that pathogenic microorganisms in the air (such as pathogens or viruses) are also particulate matter, which can be filtered by particulate matter filter material. Studies have shown that particles of 0.3um diameter are the most difficult to capture, so particulate matter filtration tests are all about selecting particles of 0.3um diameter.

If protection from bodily fluids or blood splashes is not required, just protection from the presence of influenza virus, infectious droplets, or other harmful particulate matter in the air, the use of non-medical protective masks is sufficient.

3 Medical masks have no particulate matter filtration efficiency, how do they antiviral?

In contrast to non-medical protective masks, medical masks do not specify particulate filtration, e.g. medical standard YY/T 0969, EN 14683, ASTM F2100, but these standards have been shown to be effective against viruses because bacteria are also particulates. If it can filter out bacteria and therefore particulates, but the exact relationship between them has yet to be demonstrated.

4 Can a breath valve antiviral?

For the 2019-nCoV, a face mask with a respiratory valve is not to be worn. The reason for this is that while wearing a filtered mask with a breath valve can prevent others from infecting us, but we can’t be sure we’re not infected, and antiviral face masks that don’t use a breath valve are meant to prevent us from infecting others.

5 Filtration does not kill the virus

The purpose of the antiviral face mask is to filter out the tiny particles of air that may be attached to the virus; filtering is not the same as killing. The antiviral face mask simply keeps the virus out, preventing it from getting inside, and the surface of the antiviral face mask can still hold the virus. Therefore, try not to touch the outer layer of the mouthpiece with your hands, and if you do, you need to wash your hands.

6 How to choose an antiviral face mask?

If it’s just to antiviral, choose a face mask that can filter the particles. The 9 standard masks given in this paper can effectively antiviral virus. But remember that you shouldn’t choose ordinary cotton masks or privacy protection masks worn by movie stars or sport starts. These masks are mainly for beauty and can’t effectively antiviral.

Types Labour protective masks Medical Masks Disposable protective masks
Standards China, GB 2626
EU, EN149: 2001+A1
USA, NIOSH Standards-
(Title 42 CFR Part 84)
YY/T 0969, YY 0469, GB19083
EU: EN 14683
Type Ia, Type II, Type IIR
Level 1, level 2, level 3
China, GB/T 32610
Levels A, B, C, D
Application It is used in industry and other polluting industries to filter dust particles. It is used in medical industry to prevent blood penetration and filter bacterial particles. It is used to filter particles in daily life, office, factory, and other places.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top