ASTM Publishes New Specification Standard for Barrier Face Coverings

Top Quote A look at ASTM F3502, the new specification standard for barrier face coverings. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) March 05, 2021 - 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

    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

    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 cycles.

    SGS Protective Mask Testing Services
    SGS offers a full range of services to help manufacturers and suppliers of protective masks and other forms of PPE deliver high quality, safe, and compliant products to markets around the world. Learn more about SGS Protective Mask Testing Services. []

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