What are the differences between P1, P2, P3 and N95 Respirators?

There has recently been a lot of misconceptions around different respirators, particularly P2 and N95 masks. We have outlined and explained the differences between respirator standards and their applications.

What is P1 Rating?

  • P1 is a respiratory filter rating under the AS/NZS1716 standards for use in Australia and New Zealand. Protects against mechanically generated particles.
  • Filtration rate: Filters at least 80% of airborne particles
  • Suitable for: Relatively large particles (>1 micron) generated by mechanical processes, eg. grinding, cutting, sanding, drilling, sawing

 

What is P2 Rating?

  • P2 is a respiratory filter rating under the AS/NZS1716 standards for use in Australia and New Zealand. Protects against mechanically and thermally generated particles.
  • Filtration rate: Filters at least 94% of airborne particles
  • Suitable for: Relatively small particles generated by mechanical processes eg. grinding, cutting, sanding, drilling, sawing.
    Sub-micron thermally generated particles e.g. welding fumes, fertilizer and bushfire smoke.
    Biologically active airborne particles under specified infection control applications e.g. viruses, bactieria, COVID-19, SARS

 

 

What is P3 Rating?

  • P3 is a respiratory filter rating under the AS/NZS1716 standards for use in Australia and New Zealand. Protects against mechanically and thermally generated particles.
  • Filtration rate: Filters at least 99.95% of airborne particles
  • Suitable for: Relatively small particles generated by mechanical processes eg. grinding, cutting, sanding, drilling, sawing.
    Sub-micron thermally generated particles e.g. welding fumes, fertilizer and bushfire smoke.
    Biologically active airborne particles under specified infection control applications e.g. viruses, bactieria, COVID-19, SARS
    Highly toxic particles e.g. Organophosphate Insecticides, Radionuclides, Asbestos
  • Note: P3 Rating can only be achieved when used with a Full Face Respirator or Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR). If used with any other respirator, it will only provide filtration protection up to a P2 rating.

 

 

What is N95 Rating?

  • N95 is a filter rating under the NIOSH standards used in USA and Canada. Protects against mechanically and thermally generated particles (Equivalent to the P2 standard used in Australia).
  • Filtration rate: Filters at least 95% of airborne particles
  • Suitable for: Relatively small particles generated by mechanical processes eg. grinding, cutting, sanding, drilling, sawing.
    Sub-micron thermally generated particles e.g. welding fumes, fertilizer and bushfire smoke.
    Biologically active airborne particles under specified infection control applications e.g. viruses, bactieria, COVID-19, SARS

 

 

What is KN95 Rating?

  • KN95 is a filter rating under the National Chinese standards used in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). Protects against mechanically and thermally generated particles.
  • Filtration rate: Unknown
  • Suitable for: Unknown

Should I use N95 masks in Australia?
The NIOSH used for respirators in the USA are very similar to the AS/NZS used in Australia. However, it is recommended that you use products certified in the particular country/region you are located to ensure you are adequately protected, and the products are being distributed through legal channels. During the COVID-19 crisis some governments are allowing the use of masks certified to equivalent standards (i.e. EN, NIOSH, AS/NZS)
Never use a respirator that has no certification or standards marks on the device or packaging.


What is N95 Rating?

  • N95 is a filter rating under the NIOSH standards used in USA and Canada. Protects against mechanically and thermally generated particles (Equivalent to the P2 standard used in Australia).
  • Filtration rate: Filters at least 95% of airborne particles
  • Suitable for: Relatively small particles generated by mechanical processes eg. grinding, cutting, sanding, drilling, sawing.
    Sub-micron thermally generated particles e.g. welding fumes, fertilizer and bushfire smoke.
    Biologically active airborne particles under specified infection control applications e.g. viruses, bactieria, COVID-19, SARS

 

What is the difference between FFP2 and P2?
There is no difference between FFP2 and P2. FFP2 stands for “Filtering Facepiece P2”. This is most commonly abreviated to just “P2”.

 

 

What is the function of valves on disposable respirators?

P1 and P2 respirators are available with a valve, either on the front or side.

The purpose of respirator valves is to make exhaling (i.e. breathing out) easier, and reducing fogging to glasses and other eye/face protective devices causes by warm breath releasing from the sides of respirator. These valves are one way, allowing air to escape only when exhaling.

This valve does not increase or reduce the filtration rating of a respirator. For example, a P2 mask with a valve does not offer higher protection that a P2 mask without a valve.

However, it has recently been pointed out that when air is exhaled through a valved respirator it is released back into the air unfiltered. To prevent the spread of infection (e.g. COVID-19) persons should use a non-valved respirator to ensure their breath is filtered both when inhaling and exhaling.

 

Its all in the seal!
The filtration rating of any respirator is dependent on the integrity of the seal between the mask and your face.

A mask placed over unshaven facial hair will greatly compromise the level of protection the mask can offer. Particles will be able to travel between the gap between the hair and the mask without being filtered.

Respirators with a flexible silicone face piece conform to facial features, forming a closer seal against unfiltered particles entering the airways.

 

Contact ADDLER on 1300 90 50 75 or [email protected] if you require any further assistance.

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