MedSolut AG

Filtering half mask: Protection against inhalation of particles

A filtering half mask is also known as an FFP mask. It protects against the inhalation of very small particles and therefore also against viruses that could be exhaled by other people. Order high-quality filtering half masks from renowned manufacturers in our online catalogue. Take advantage of the excellent professional advice and benefit from the outstanding service and performance offered by

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What is a filtering half mask?

Filtering half masks are also called FFP masks. The abbreviation comes from the English and stands for "Filtering Face Piece". Other terms for filtering half masks are particle-filtering half masks or particle-filtering respiratory protection. In Corona times, health experts recommend that all citizens wear FFP2 masks exclusively. In addition to self-protection, they also ensure third-party protection in the event that the wearer excretes SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

Are you looking for a full-face mask, a self-rescuer or other escape equipment? In our assortment you will find numerous other elements for personal protective equipment!

Types of the particle filtering half mask

There are different types of the particle filtering half mask. At we have a wide range of products in excellent quality for you. Thus, filtering half masks are divided into categories FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 based on the retention capacity of the particle filter. The higher the number, the better the protective effect:

  1. Category FFP1 R or NR masks are intended for single or multiple use, depending on the type. The "R" stands for reusable or reusable, while "NR" means not reusable and those masks are therefore not reusable.
  2. Masks in the FFP2 R or NR category are recommended by the Robert Koch Institute for everyday situations to prevent COVID-19 infections and require that the minimum distance be maintained when worn.
  3. Masks in the FFP3 R or NR category are characterized by their special protection factor and are therefore also suitable for use in occupational or medical settings.

The different mask types in detail:

Filtering half mask without exhalation valve

The higher the protection factor of a filtering half mask, the better the filtering effect. At the same time, however, breathing resistance increases over time. Therefore, when wearing the mask for a longer period of time, limits must be observed to ensure the best possible comfort. A mask with an exhalation valve, however, is not suitable for external protection and is therefore not intended for use in the containment of the corona pandemic.

Filtering half mask with exhalation valve

Whether or not an FFP mask is equipped with a valve remains independent of the respective FFP protection level. The valve opens during exhalation, but remains closed during inhalation. Accordingly, moist and warm breathing air is transferred out of the mask unfiltered. When inhaling, the filtering performance of the mask is maintained. The advantage of filtering half masks with an exhalation valve is that a comfortable climate is ensured and easier exhalation is possible. However, a mask with an exhalation valve is not suitable for external protection and is therefore not intended for the containment of the Corona pandemic.

Filtering half mask FFP1

The filtering half mask of category FFP1 filters at least 80 percent of the pollutants in the air breathed and thus offers a high level of external and self-protection.

Filtering half mask FFP2

The FFP2 filtering half mask selects 94 percent or more of the pollutants contained in the breathing air, making it an indispensable companion in various everyday and occupational situations.

FFP3 filtering half mask

FFP3 masks can filter out up to 99 percent of pollutants and aerosols from the air we breathe.

Not quite sure which filtering half mask is right for you or your company? Of course, our experts will be happy to provide you with advice and support. We'll be happy to take time for you to determine the right protection for your situation.

Application of particle filtering half masks

Whether against viruses or other influences - particle-filtering half masks play an essential role in everyday private, professional and corporate life. These are the most important areas of application for filtering half masks:

Use against viruses (such as SARS-CoV-2).

To ensure efficient protection against the Corona virus, you need at least an FFP2 mask. This is primarily for self-protection, but also ensures increased protection from others when the distance regulation is observed. Extensive tests are carried out to determine how much aerosol and how many tiny droplets up to 0.6 micrometers in size can penetrate the material. This protective function is specified in the DIN EN 149:2009 08 standard. It states that at least 95 percent of the particles must be separated out. This is guaranteed by the filter layer inside the mask, which is electrostatically charged. Larger particles and even smaller, dangerous aerosols are therefore selected from the inhaled and exhaled air.

Other applications

On the one hand, FFP2 masks provide a high level of protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. On the other hand, particle-filtering half masks also play an important role in various work processes where, for example, fine dust is generated.

  • FFP1 respirators protect against non-toxic dusts. With a filtration efficiency of up to 80 percent, they protect against fine dust from cement, pulp, limestone, pollen and gypsum, among others.
  • Class 2 protective masks can be used in work areas where harmful or mutagenic substances are present in the air breathed. Filtering half masks in this category filter at least 94 percent of airborne particles, protecting against toxic dusts such as concrete dust, granite, zinc oxide smoke or calcium oxide.
  • Class 3 filtering half masks offer up to 99 percent collection efficiency and are ideal for work environments where you are exposed to particularly toxic dusts. Masks in this product category offer protection against toxic dusts of nickel, cobalt, chromium and even mold spores, for example.

Labeling of FFP masks

Certain requirements must be met for respirators to carry the FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3 markings and the CE mark. It is important, for example, that the test specifications of DIN EN 149: 2009-08 are met. In this regard, among other things, the seal fit and the filter performance play a role. If all conditions are met, certification in accordance with EU Regulation (EU) 2016 / 425 is possible.

All particle-filtering half masks that we have available for you in our range are tested by MedSolut and are therefore reliable, safe - and thus indispensable in everyday life as well as in a professional context.

Marking of EU-compliant masks

Not only since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic have cheap masks repeatedly appeared within the EU that look like EU-compliant masks at first glance, but on closer inspection do not meet the required points. Therefore, we would like to inform you here about the essential markings of EU-compliant particle-filtering half masks. On the FFP mask you can see, among other things:

  • the CE mark with a four-digit identification number of the certification body
  • the FFP protection level
  • the corresponding EN standard
  • the manufacturer's name
  • the item number

The scope of delivery also includes a declaration of conformity from the respective manufacturer. In most cases, however, this can also be viewed directly online. On request, the manufacturer can provide an EU type examination certificate. If an FFP mask has the CE mark including the identification number of the responsible testing authority, it has successfully passed the so-called leakage test of EN standard 149.

Typical imprint on FFP masks (usually visible in the middle segment of the inner part)

Imprint Meaning
Name "XXXX Information about the manufacturer
EN 149:2001 Applied EU standard
FFP 2 NR D Protection class and code numbers for single or multiple use
CE XXXX CE marking with four-digit check digit
12.2021 Durability of the mask

How can I recognize approved, high-quality masks?

Low-quality FFP masks pose a significant health risk because adequate protection against viruses or particulate matter and other disease-causing particles cannot be guaranteed. Approved certified masks of high quality can be recognized by these attributes, among others:

  • The manufacturer's name or trademark is correctly and firmly applied.
  • The type-identical marking is also not missing.
  • The number and year of publication of the standard can be seen on the mask, such as EN 149:2001.
  • The mask class along with additional information, such as FFP2 NR or R are printed.
  • The CE marking and the identification number of the relevant testing authority are clearly visible.
  • A confirmation of the market surveillance authority can be retrieved online for the corresponding product or requested from the manufacturer.
The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) and the team will be happy to help you with any questions you may have about the recognition of approved masks. Simply contact us!

Non-EU masks

The CE marking, which is printed on EU-compliant FFP masks, may not be present on non-EU masks. You can recognize high-quality particle-filtering half masks from the USA, Canada, Australia or Japan by the following features, among others: USA In the USA, masks must comply with NIOSH (42C FR 84). Accepted mask types there include the following models:

  • N95 / R95 / P95 (95 percent)
  • N99 / R99 / P99 (99 percent)
  • N100 / R100 / P100 (99.97 percent)
  • HE (99.97 percent)
  • "N" stands for not oil resistant
  • "R" means partially oil resistant
  • "P" is the symbol for high oil resistance
  • "HE" stands for highly efficient and thus particularly effective

Canada In Canada, the same standard applies as in the USA, namely NIOSH (42C FR 84). In addition, the quality standard Z94.4-11 Selection must be met. The following masks are common in Canada:

  • N95 / R95 / P95 (with a protection factor of at least 95 percent).
  • N99 / R99 / P99 (with a protection factor of up to 99 percent)
  • N100 / R100 / P100 (with a protection factor of up to 99.97 percent)
  • HE(99.97 percent)

Australia In Australia, the AS/NZS 1716:2012 standard applies, and only P2 masks with a protection factor of at least 94 percent and P3 masks with a protection factor of up to 99.95 percent are permitted here. Japan In Japan, protective masks must comply with DS Japan JMHLW Notification 214, 2018. Common mask types are DS2 / DL2 with a protection factor of up to 95 percent and DS3 / DL3 masks with a maximum protection factor of 99.9 percent. The abbreviation "D" here stands for disposable, "S" means solid and "L" means liquid.

Tip from your MedSolut experts You can detect inferior masks with the help of the shape test, the water check, the filter layer test or the fire test. Although you may have to give up a mask for this, these precautions could well save lives.

Test the quality of your FFP mask

  • High quality FFP masks are equipped with an anatomically adjustable nosepiece to ensure optimal fit. Inferior masks often do not have such a feature.
  • Also consider that EU-compliant masks are waterproof and only soak through to a limited extent. Pour a little water on the mask surface as a test. If the liquid does not seep through, this is already a sign of good quality. In addition, press the lower part of the mask onto a napkin. If this remains dry, this is also a guarantee of the high quality of the mask.
  • You can also check whether the three-layer FFP mask has a fleece of melt-spun fiber structures inside it by cutting it open. If the middle layer is paper, you should dispose of the mask immediately, as this does not ensure a protective function.
  • The fire test is also an indicator of the quality of your mask. High quality FFP masks do not burn because they are made of non-flammable materials. Cheap masks, on the other hand, burn like blazes.

Applicable standards for filtering half masks

Every filtering half mask must meet the requirements of the European standard EN 149 "Respiratory protective devices - Filtering half masks to protect against particles - Requirements, testing and marking". The current German version of said standard is "EN 1492001 + A1: 2009". Because FFP masks belong to personal protective equipment (PPE), the requirements of the "Ordinance on Personal Protective Equipment" apply. In this respect, Regulation (EU) 2016/425 applies. In addition, you should always take into account the different hazard symbols. For FFP masks, DIN EN 149 refers, among other things, to the filter passage and the so-called fit leakage. This is caused by possible leakage between the user's face and the sealing line of the mask. The total leakage values of the masks based on DIN EN 149 are as follows:

  • For FFP1, the value is no more than 22 percent.
  • For FFP2 masks, the value is a maximum of 8 percent.
  • And for FFP3 masks, the value is only 3 percent.

Our trained team will be happy to help you with further questions in this regard at any time.

Correct use of filtering half masks

Even the best filtering half mask will not provide proper protection against viruses, fine dust and the like if it is not used correctly. Below you will find some tips for the correct use of filtering half masks:

Preparatory measures

Depending on the work area, the appropriate FFP masks must be ordered. Regular instruction of the personnel, also with regard to the purchase of new masks, is elementary. The FFP masks must not be used for protection against gases or vapors in concentrations of more than 1 times the currently applicable TRK or MAK value. Please do not hesitate to contact our specialists if you have any questions in this regard.

Putting on and taking off and correct fit

Before putting on the mask, check that there are no holes, cracks or other damage to the mask. Hold the mask in both hands and then take a deep breath so that a slight negative pressure is felt. If air escapes in the area of the nose clip, press on it with greater intensity. Then adjust the mask to your face shape as required. Do not use the mask if the atmosphere contains less than 17 percent oxygen. Heavy facial hair may eventually interfere with the fit of the mask.

After use

Depending on the model, FFP masks can be used multiple times:

  • If the mask is marked with an "R", it is "reusable" and thus can be worn repeatedly.
  • If it has an NR marking, it is "not reusable" and should be disposed of after use - at the latest after eight hours of wear.

How long should FFP masks be worn?

It is recommended that particle-filtering half masks without a breathing air valve be worn for a maximum of 75 minutes with a subsequent half-hour recovery period in accordance with AMR 14.2 of DGUV Guideline 112-190. In total, they can be worn for a maximum of 8 hours without the masks losing their effectiveness. Models with an exhalation valve should be kept on for a maximum of two hours followed by a 30-minute recovery period. Depending on the severity of the work, air temperature and humidity, as well as heat radiation, etc., shorter wearing times are also possible. Under these conditions, correspondingly shorter recovery periods should be planned.

Ordering a filtering half mask - MedSolut will be happy to advise you!

Order your high-quality filtering half mask conveniently at and benefit from our excellent consulting service. We are here to help you find the right product. Call us at +49 30 209 657 900 or send us an e-mail at We look forward to hearing from you!