Many nation-states have their own standards when deeming how safe a particular mask is. The following is a list of 6 nations and their respective standards.

United States

  • The US government is guided by the standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  • The following are a list of masks approved by NIOSH, under the heading of Face Fitting Respirators: N95, N99, N100, R95, P95, P99, and P100.
    • The distinction between N, R, and P are to show how well a given mask is oil resistant (P being the most oil-resistant, R being somewhat oil-resistant, and N being the least oil-resistant). Oil-based particles come from fuel, paint, or pesticide products that become aerosolized.
    • The numbers indicate the percentage of airborne particles that mask filters. Note that the P100 does not filter 100% of the particles, but 99.97% according to NIOSH.

Australia and New Zealand

The Australian and New Zealand governments are guided by the specifications set by Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand. They describe three classes of masks: Class P1, Class P2, and Class P3.

  • The Class P1 is generally used to filter large particles from mechanical processes, including sawing and sanding; it filters at least 80% of airborne particles
  • The Class P2 is most similar to the US N95, filtering 94% of airborne particles.
  • The Class P3 is most similar to the US N99, filtering 99.95% of airborne particles.

Europe

The member states of the European Union are guided by the European Personal Protective Equipment Directive, highlighting the EN 149 standard. They describe three classes of filtering masks: FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3.

  • The FFP1 class filters at least 80% of airborne particles.
  • The FFP2 class filters at least 94% of airborne particles.
  • The FFP3 class filters at least 99% of airborne particles.

Mexico

The Mexican governments are guided by the standards set by Norma Oficial Mexicana with the relevant standard being NOM-116-2009. These standards are most similar to the United States’, outlining nine classes of masks: N95, R95, P95, N99, R99, P99, N100, R100, and P100.

  • The N/R/P refers to the oil-resistance capacity of the mask, identical to the US NIOSH standards.
  • The numbers indicate the percentage of airborne particles the mask filters; again note that 100 here refers to 99.97% of airborne particles being filtered, not 100%.

China

The Chinese governments are guided by the Standardization Administration of China, with the relevant standard being GB 2626-2006 (soon to be updated to GB 2626-2019). They outline six classes of masks: KN90, KN95, KN100, KP90, KP95, KP100.

  • The KN type masks are for filtering non-oily particles. The KP type m masks are for filtering both non-oily and oily particles.
  • The numbers refer to the percentage of the airborne particles filtered and are identical to the US NIOSH standard.

South Korea

The South Korean government is guided by the Ministry of Korean Food and Drug Safety (MFDS). They outline three classes of masks: KF80, KF94, and KF99. The KF stands for Korea Filter; it is important to note that these masks have not been tested for oil particles and thus are most similar to the American “N” class.

  • The KF80 masks filter at least 80% of airborne particles.
  • The KF94 masks filter at least 94% of airborne particles.
  • The KF99 masks filter at least 99% of airborne particles.

Japan

The Japanese government is guided by the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), with the relevant performance standard being the JMHLW-2000. They outline twelve classes of masks, divided into two groups: replaceable (R) and Disposable (D): RS1, RS2, RS3, RL1, RL2, RL3 and DS1, DS2, DS3, DL1, DL2, DL3.

  • The difference between the Type-S masks and the Type-L masks are to indicate the different aerosols that were tested on these masks. The Type-S masks were tested with NaCl aerosols while the Type-L masks were tested with DOP aerosols. The S and L stand for solid and liquid respectively.
  • The type-1 masks filter at least 80% of airborne particles; the type-2 masks filter at least 94% of airborne particles and the type-3 at least 99% of airborne particles.

Brazil

The Brazilian government is guided by the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT), with the relevant performance standard being ABNT/NBR 13694: 1996. They outline three classes of masks: PFF1, PFF2, and PFF3. These standards are most similar to the European standards.

  • The PFF1 class filters at least 80% of airborne particles.
  • The PFF2 class filters at least 94% of airborne particles.
  • The PFF3 class filters at least 99% of airborne particles