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Protective masks: nothing can take your breath awayRespiratory masks are used to protect the respiratory system. They are mainly used for protection against particles, such as dusts, as well as for protection against toxic or hazardous vapors and gases, but, for example in hospitals, also for protection against microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, droplet infections and for hygienic reasons.
Protective masks are classified according to the type of protection and certified according to EN. There are a total of three classes: FFP-1, FFP-2 and FFP-3. The higher the value, the greater the protection.
Particle filters protect against fine dust or particles, but not against gases, vapors and microorganisms.
Simple protective masks are not certified and protect against coarse dusts or in the clinical area against droplet infections, but not against fine dust and microorganisms. They are also referred to as "hygiene masks".
Protection against fine dustThe standard EN149: 2001 is the current standard for particle masks. This standard (EN149) for protective masks specifies the requirements for particle-filtering half-masks and was extended in 2001 to ensure that all protective masks covered by this standard are protected against solid particulate matter as well as liquid air particles (aerosols). This was not the case with EN149 before 2001.
Fine dusts are suspended particles of air that are either solid or are in the air as droplets. They are also referred to as aerosols. The smaller these particles are, the longer they remain in the air and the greater the likelihood that they will be inhaled with the breathing air.
Aerosols can appear as dust, smoke or fog.
In production and workshops, aerosols often occur in the form of dusts that are produced during the processing and processing of solids. If such dusts get into the lungs it can damage the lungs. For example, the so-called "black lung" is known from here.
In order to prevent diseases of the respiratory organs they should be protected during processing, such as wood and metal, but also when working with cement and other substances in which fine dust, do not have a respirator with sufficient particle protection and appropriate certification.
Respiratory protection must also be ensured while using welding protection in case of harmful gases or vapors. In such a scenario, a sufficiently certified respirator should also be worn.