Have you ever worn a respirator face mask before to protect you from airborne pollutants that may be present in the indoor air space? Face masks are a great resource to have in many different instances and environments that may lead to compromised and/or adverse health effects in those exposed to these indoor environments. When it comes to tainted air spaces, often times people are most concerned about the outdoor spaces that they are exposed to, however, sometimes indoor environments may also contain high levels of pollutants in the air that can reach higher levels than even the outdoor air. There are various hazardous pollutants that can enter into an environment either through environmental conditions, human emission, or even from certain items that are used within these environments that can lead to an accumulation of pollutants within the environment that will therefore alter the potential health of those individuals that are frequently exposed to these tainted spaces.

In this article we are going to learn more about respiratory face masks, the different types of face masks for particulate respiratory protection, and ultimately determine what specific mask grade is best to use to protect your respiratory health.

What Are Breathing Face Masks

What Are Breathing Face MasksHave you recently begun to notice that nearly everywhere you go you are surrounded by people wearing protective breathing face masks on their face? Whether you are at the grocery store, the airport, or even walking the streets, you will be flooded with images of numerous people that are armed with these breathing face masks to protect themselves from widespread germs, bacteria, and even airborne pollution that taints the air. Breathing face masks are perfectly tailored respirators that are designed to protect the wearer from inhaling dusts, fumes, vapors, gases, and other harmful pollutants in the air space of the environment. These various air-purifying respirators are designed to be full hood, half- or full-facepiece designs that are marketed in many ways when it comes to the hazards of air quality and its numerous pollutants.

When it comes to the various different types of masks that will fall into the category of breathing face respirator masks, the options will be plentiful with all of them containing different certifications and capabilities when it comes to mitigating airborne pollutants from someone’s consumed air. Below we are going to learn more about how these various face masks work, when is the optimal time to wear a face mask like these and understand which of these masks offers the most protection from an abundance of airborne pollutants in the air.

How Do Face Masks Work

If you have ever worn a protective face mask before than you may be aware of exactly how these face masks work to protect your respiratory health, as well as helping to prevent the spreading of germs/bacteria to other people through airborne saliva and bodily fluids. Respirator face masks work as a form of personal protective equipment that will specifically work to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. Contrary to what many people believe today, due to the recent outbreak of the pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19) people are under the assumption that these face mask respirators will work to protect the wearer from exposure to viruses and other airborne pathogens in the air. However, that does not mean that these face masks are completely unprotective when it comes to shielding a person’s air from other various airborne pollutants – like toxic gases, fumes, vapors, and other harmful pollutants.

When it comes to the capabilities of a respirator face mask, depending on the specific type of mask – whether it be surgical dust masks or an air-purifying respirator, they will have different capabilities and functions on how they work to protect individuals and their health. Surgical masks work very differently from respirator masks, these masks do not protect against viruses and only work to protect an individual from spreading his or her saliva and bodily fluids from spreading in the environment. Whereas a respirator face mask works to mitigate and filter out noxious and toxic chemicals/odors, vapors, and other harmful pollutants from the air space.

When to Use Face Masks

When to Use Face MasksRespirator face masks are mainly used as a protective measure to guard an individual’s respiratory health from exposure to certain pollutants in the air. There are many different environments and situations that will require the use of a respirator face mask, such as for protection against wildfire pollution, new home off-gassing, fuel emissions in the air, and even in environments like labs where you are exposed to numerous volatile chemicals that may be released into the air. These environments can produce higher, even dangerous levels of pollutants in the air that can significantly impact a person’s heath when exposure occurs.

Determining what types of situations or environments that may require or benefit from the use of a respiratory face mask is important to reducing exposures, and therefore if you know that you will be exposed to specific chemicals and/or pollutants in the environment that you will be in for prolonged periods, than it is important to arm yourself with a protective face mask. Workplaces such as labs or factories are among some of the most important places to constantly have access to protective equipment like a respiratory face mask to wear.

Different Types of Masks

There are a variety of different types of masks that all will contain different certifications and capabilities when it comes to filtering out airborne pollutants in the air. The three types of filtering facepiece masks that can be selected from when using respiratory protection include the following; FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3. Facepiece masks will cover your mouth and nose and is typically constructed of various filter materials that will aid in the filtration of the air from this specific mask.

What are the differences between FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3, and what capabilities do each of these facepiece masks contain when used in the indoor environment?

  • FFP1: The FFP1 facepiece mask will work against non-toxic fine dust up to 4 times the limit value. These FFP1 masks are identified by the blue lettering on the valve and imprint on the mask. This mask will offer protection from lower levels of dust, solids and liquid aerosols.
  • FFP2: The FFP2 facepiece mask will protect against low toxic fine dust up to 10 times the limit value. This mask will filter out moderate levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. All FFP2 masks are identified by the orange lettering on the valve and imprint on the mask.
  • FFP3: The FFP3 facepiece masks will work against toxic fine dust up to 30 times the limit value. FFP3 masks are suitable for handling hazardous powders, such as those found in the pharmaceutical industry. All FFP3 masks are identified by the black lettering on the valve and the imprint on the mask.

FFP3 vs N95

FFP3 vs N95When it comes to respirator masks, one of the most well-known of these masks is the infamous N95 mask. The N95 mask is a NIOSH approved mask that is managed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This type of mask will contain different types of filtration capabilities that will work to counteract certain pollutants in the air such as vapors, gases, bacteria/viruses, and other pollutants that may be hazardous to human exposure. These masks will have a tight fit to the face, even for those with facial hair, and this will allow for an efficient filtration of airborne particles in the air space. The N95 face mask respirator will be capable of blocking at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) particles in the air, which provides a high level of filtration capability to the wearer of this specific type of face mask. However, a downfall of the N95 face mask respirator is its labeled “single use” instructions that make this type of disposal device limited in usage.

Whereas a FFP3 facepiece mask is a particular class of masks that are disposal particulate respirators that are able to filter out a minimum filtration percentage of 99% and maximum 2% leakage to the inside, allowing for protection against very fine particles such as asbestos. The European standard for mask protection FFP masks (FFP1, FFP2, FFP3) are what they consider as a disposable particulate respirators used to mitigate various noxious and toxic chemicals, vapors, fumes, and other fine particle matter from the air extremely effectively, and the FFP3 masks will offer the highest level of protection for particulate matter mitigation.

FFP3 Mask Specification & Protection

There are many important specifications and protection capabilities that this type of FFP3 masks will provide to its users when they are wearing them in compromised environments. These masks, similar to various other types of respiratory masks, are classified in accordance to their filtering capacity and their maximum total inward leakage when wearing these filtering face masks. Specifically, when talking about FFP3 facepiece masks they are reusable masks that are typically constructed of non-woven synthetic fibers that will provide high performance exhalation valve that serves to change the filter layer like a screw.

FFP3 masks will contain adjustable straps that will provide this mask with the ability to create a tight, sealed fit to the face that will help to reduce exposures to solids and liquid aerosols or particulate matter in the air. When it comes to the level of protection that this high-classification face masks will provide for particulate removal in the air will include filtration of particulate matter in concentrations up to 50x occupational exposure limits (OEL) or 20x assigned protection factor (APF).

Selecting a FFP3 Face Mask

Selecting a FFP3 Face MaskThe process of identifying which level of protection you need when it comes to respiratory face mask protection, especially from certain pollutants that are present in the environment from specific situations or conditions is important in properly shielding yourself from these potentially harmful pollutants that are in the air. If you are dealing with the spreading of germs and bacteria in the air through airborne pathogens in the air, an N95 respirator will be a great way to protect yourself from a variety of these pathogens floating in the air, whereas if you are the person that is sick and want to be considerate and not spread your germs a surgical mask will be the best options to prevent this spreading of bodily fluids in the air.

However, when it comes to the mitigation of particulate matter, particularly chemical vapors, fumes, and fine particles in the air, a respirator mask like a FFP3 mask will be a great resource to use and integrate for personal protection of the respiratory system. What type of FFP3 mask is a highly capable and effective mask to use in a variety of toxic environments, and what makes this specific FFP3 mask different from others of this same classification?

EnviroKlenz Disposable Particulate Respiratory Protection

EnviroKlenz Disposable Particulate Respiratory ProtectionThe EnviroKlenz Disposable Particulate Respiratory Protection is an FFP3 NR D mask with the added benefit of chemical and odor pollution reduction technology.

Filtering Face Piece 3 (FFP3) respirators protect against higher levels of particulates compared to FFP1, FFP2, and traditional loose-fitting masks that cover the mouth and nose. FFP3 respirators, more importantly, can also reduce exposure to solid and liquid aerosols (that often are the source of droplets which carry germs short distances).

FFP3 masks protect against particulate materials in concentrations up to 50x occupational exposure limits (OEL) or 20x assigned protection factor (APF).

Additionally, the EnviroKlenz Respirator contains an advanced and proprietary technology of non-toxic high-performance specialty materials effective at reducing exposure to and neutralizing a wide range of chemical pollutants.

The media formulation is safe and can significantly reduce both toxic and noxious chemicals and odors.

Since the technology works fast, it is an ideal material to be featured in a mask for minimizing exposure to a wide variety of odors and nuisance environmental pollution.

The combined technologies behind the mask are capable of reducing exposure to particulates, aerosols, odors, and chemicals (acids, acidic/caustic gases, volatile organic compounds, phosphorus and sulfur compounds among many others).


CE 0121

EN149:2001 + A1:2009


Disposable Particulate Respiratory Protection (FFP3 Mask)

The EnviroKlenz Disposable Particulate Respiratory Protection is an FFP3 NR D mask with the added benefit of chemical and odor pollution reduction technology.  

Technology originally designed for chemical warfare decontamination

Patented Earth Mineral Technology works to attack the VOC and break down on a compound level.

 FFP3 filtering face piece 3 respirator that protects against higher levels of particulates.

No chemicals or masking agents

 Highest grade FFP mask that offers the most particulate matter protection.