ASTM Publishes New Specification Standard for Barrier Face Coverings

ASTM International has published a new standard that
establishes the minimum design, performance, labeling, user instructions,
reporting and classification, and conformity assessment criteria for single-use
and reusable face coverings – ASTM F3502.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, barrier
face coverings have been an important part of the strategy for reducing the
spread of the coronavirus. F3502 – Standard Specification for Barrier Face
Coverings – covers those products that are intended for use by the general
public and workers. It defines barrier face coverings as products that are worn
around the face and which specifically cover, at a minimum, the wearer’s mouth
and nose. Its primary function is to provide a degree of particulate filtration
while reducing the amount of inhaled particulate matter.

Performance testing is based upon an evaluation of sub-micron
particulate filtration efficiency and air flow resistance (inhalation). There
are two classifications:

Level 1 (lower performance):

  • Sub-micron particulate filtration efficiency: greater than or
    equal to 20%
  • Air flow
    resistance: less than or equal to 15 mm of H20

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Level 2 (higher performance)

  • Sub-micron particulate filtration efficiency: greater than or
    equal to 50%
  • Air flow
    resistance: less than or equal to 5 mm of H20

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Barrier face coverings that are compliant with the
standard must meet or exceed all Model A requirements for conformity assessment
specified in Annex A3 of Guide F3050 with a number of additions (see ASTM F3502
for details). Included in these conditions is the provision that performance
testing for particulate filtration and inhalation should be performed in an ISO/IEC
17025 accredited laboratory.

Stakeholders should also be aware that the standard
requires reusable face coverings to state their ‘service life’. This is defined
as the maximum number of uses and laundering or cleaning cycles that the product
can undergo while still maintaining its performance integrity. Service life
claims must be verified by having the above performance tests conducted before
washing, i.e., in pristine condition, and after the designated number of wash/care

SGS Protective Mask Testing

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services to help manufacturers and suppliers of protective masks and other
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Specification for Barrier Face Coverings

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