These days, the world is fighting against the coronavirus outbreak (SARS-CoV-2). The virus is typically spread during close contact and via respiratory droplets produced when people cough or sneeze.
According the World Health Organization (WHO) masks should be used:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection,
- If you are coughing or sneezing.
Masks may help also people avoid touching their faces.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, there is a huge demand for masks and it is important to ensure that appropriate masks ensuring adequate protection are swiftly made available to those who need it most.
But the masks shall be tested in order to ensure that the essential requirements are met. The specific requirements are set out in the following European Standards:
- EN 14683:2019 Medical face masks – Requirements and test methods
This standard specifies construction, design, performance requirements and test methods for medical face masks intended to limit the transmission of infective agents from staff to patients during surgical procedures and other medical settings with similar requirements. A medical face mask with an appropriate microbial barrier can also be effective in reducing the emission of infective agents from the nose and mouth of an asymptomatic carrier or a patient with clinical symptoms. This European Standard is not applicable to masks intended exclusively for the personal protection of staff.
- EN 149:2001 + A1:2009 Respiratory protective devices – Filtering half masks to protect against particles – Requirements, testing, marking
This European Standard specifies minimum requirements for filtering half masks as respiratory protective devices to protect against particles except for escape purposes. Laboratory and practical performance tests are included for the assessment of compliance with the requirements.
You find further information from the EU Commission on conformity assessment and market surveillance procedures within the context of the COVID-19 threat under https://eurlex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2020.079.01.0001.01.ENG
Tests of masks are performed by laboratories. Click here to download the list of laboratories, which are accredited for the scope EN 14683 and/or EN 149 (page 2-6).
For further information regarding an accredited laboratory, please contact the relevant National Accreditation Body (NAB) or the laboratory directly.
You find the contact details to the NABs on EA’s website https://european-accreditation.org/eamembers/directory-of-ea-members-and-mla-signatories/
Here you can find for information a list of laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Body of China (CNAS) for testing of masks.