Neither KN95 nor N95 Face Masks meet the standard of European FFP2 Masks
FFP2, KN95 and N95 - What are the differences?
There are many respirators available at pharmacies and online shops that are labelled either "KN95" or "FFP2". The KN95 Masks are manufactured according to the Chinese standard GB 2626-2006 / GB 2626-2019. The European standard for the FFP2 Masks is EN149:2001+A1 2009. Both masks often have very similar designs and are clarified by vendors as being comparable. To what extent are the KN95 Masks according to the Chinese standard comparable with the FFP2 Masks according to the EU standard? The differences are mainly in the filter performance and the conformity assessment process.
FFP2 and KN95 – Different standards of protection
The Chinese standard for KN95 requires a filtration efficiency of min. 95%, while the European standard sets a similar requirement of min. 94%. However, different test media are required in the two standards. For KN95 Masks, only waterborne NaCl aerosols are used. The test for FFP2 Masks uses waterborne NaCl aerosols AND oleiferous paraffin oil mist. Since filtering of oily particles (paraffin mist) may be useful for use against SARS-CoV-2, the FFP2 Face Masks provide safer protection in the epidemic.
In Comparison to the type testing for FFP2 Masks the type testing for KN95 Masks is simplified
An even more important difference between KN95 and FFP2 Masks is the conformity assessment process. According to the EN149:2001+A1 2009 standard, a standard type testing by an EU notified independent testing body is required before the masks can be placed on the EU market. The production quality of the masks still has to be checked regularly by an independent testing body so that the masks meet the quality standard of the type. For KN95 Masks, the type testing is often simplified. Of the required 9 tests of a type test, usually only 2-3 tests are carried out. The production quality is also often only tested internally. Therefore, a significant proportion of existing KN95 Masks do not provide sufficient protection as required.
Even the American N95 Masks do not meet the European standard in full
While KN95 is the Chinese standard, the N95 designation refers to the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health standard. Whereas the type testing for N95 Face Masks does not meet the European standard in full, it comes closer to European requirements than the type testing for KN95 Masks.