BÖNNIGHEIM, Germany (January 27, 2022) – Textile service provider Hohenstein has successfully extended its accreditations as a testing laboratory and certification body to include FFP respiratory protection masks in accordance with DIN EN 149. The company now covers all types of textile masks (medical, FFP and community masks) with functional and safety tests.
Particle-filtering half masks (Filtering Face Pieces) are primarily used for the wearer’s protection from harmful aerosols, particles and droplets. Under EU law, they are considered personal protective equipment (PPE), category III. The different protection levels for FFP respiratory masks (FFP 1-3) depend on how well they retain liquid and solid particles. Their protective function is specified throughout Europe by the EN 149:2009-08 standard, which requires laboratory tests and practical performance tests with test persons. Hohenstein proves the safety of FFP protective masks in several test steps:
- Through visual inspection, Hohenstein experts assess the correct labeling, the clarity of enclosed instructions for usage and the functionality of the packaging.
- Laboratory tests can determine, among other things, breathing resistance, filter medium transmittance and inward leakage. The practical performance of FFP masks is assessed through realistic tests with test persons.
- Test persons can also be employed to assess other parameters such as skin tolerance, field of vision or headgear comfort.
- Optional tests, such as testing FFP masks for harmful substances, complete the safety verification.
Reliable and neutral testing and certification of these products is essential to public and user safety. During the pandemic, many FFP masks with dubious or false claims have been circulated.
As a testing laboratory for medical devices, Hohenstein also offers testing of medical face masks for properties such as bacterial filtering performance, differential pressure as an indicator of breathing activity, microbiological purity and cytotoxicity. Medical face masks fall under the Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745 and fulfil the requirements according to EN 14683.
For non-medical, non-PPE face masks, Hohenstein tests according to the European Guideline for Everyday Masks, the CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) 17553:2020. Hohenstein’s quality label for Tested Community Masks was introduced in June 2020 to prove safety and functionality.
In 2021, Hohenstein joined the German Mask Association, which pools the expertise of all mask manufacturers and suppliers in Germany and supports the Quality Working Group with expertise in textile protective clothing.
More information: Hohenstein.US/ffp-masks
With more than 40 offices and laboratories, Hohenstein is an international partner for independent testing, certification and applied research around the human-textile-environment interaction. They develop science-based methods and standards that consider the user in real life, not just in the lab. Through standard or customized testing, and interpretation of the results, Hohenstein experts solve problems, verify claims and help partners bring better, safer products to market – more sustainably. Hohenstein is a founding member and leading provider of the OEKO-TEX® portfolio of services, and is certified by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC ID #1058) as a third-party, independent laboratory for CPSIA compliance verification. Hohenstein.US