As Americans close to a full year of face masks to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a technical standards organization has published the first national standard for consumer face masks, reports CNN.
The American Society for Testing and Materials’ new standards cover such things as minimum requirements for the fit, design, performance and testing of face masks, CNN noted. They will also require user instructions, labeling of packages and a permanent tag.
“This standard provides value by specifying minimum design, performance and testing requirements and allowing comparison of end-user products where applicable guidelines are limited,”
To obtain certification, masks must be tested in accredited laboratories, registered and using the correct marking system outlined by ASTM.
Labels must show two test criteria: breathability and filtration efficiency. Filtration usually makes breathing more difficult.
According to the guidelines, a level 1 design will filter at least 20% of the particles, but will have easier breathability.
A level two certification will filter at least 50% of the particles, but will provide less breathability.
Ventilations, valves or other devices that allow unfiltered air to pass through the mask are not permitted according to the standards.
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