What to look for when buying an FFP2 mask? Experts recommend making sure that safety requirements are met.
Safety standards are set by current legislation – national and EU. The Hellenic Ministry of Development has published information on what to look for when buying a protective accessory, referring to the General Directorate of Industry and Business Environment of the General Secretariat of Industry, which is the competent authority for the supervision and control of personal protective equipment (PPE). Six main points:
1. The mask and packaging must be marked “CE” – clearly visible, legible and indelible. This is a manufacturer’s declaration of conformity with the safety requirements of the applicable European regulation (EU) 2016/425 on personal protective equipment.
2. The CE marking is accompanied by four digits which identify the mask certification body (notified body -NB). This body conducts a product conformity assessment procedure. Authorities with a valid PPE notification can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/nando/index.cfm?fuseaction=directive.notifiedbody&dir_id=155501
3. In addition to the CE marking, the following markings must be present on the mask:
identifier/distinguished name/trademark of the manufacturer; name and type of product; number and version of EN 149:2001+A1:2009; class FFP or class FFP2, which indicate the retention of microparticles at the level of 95%. The choice of FFP2 does not exclude the FFP3 category, which indicates a 99% retention of microparticles); designation NR (Non Reusable – Disposable) or R (Reusable – multi-purpose).
4. The mask must be properly packaged. The package must contain:
date of manufacture and expiration date of the product; instructions for use, precautions, warnings in Greek, the observance of which is necessary for the safe use of the product. Sometimes the instructions may be inside the package; information about the manufacturer; data of the importer when coming from a third country; number and standard version (EN 149: 2001 + A1: 2009); class FFP2; NR or R marking; product name/type.
5. Respirator masks marked KN95 or N95, indicating compliance with the Chinese national standard GB2626-2019 or 2006 and the American national standard NIOSH-42CFR84 respectively, can only be made available for use in the Greek market under the above conditions of EU law and must be CE marked and others mentioned above.
6. Consumers should avoid supplying individual masks when their packaging does not bear the above markings and is the contents of a larger package.
The General Secretariat of Industry and the customs authorities systematically control the import of masks from third countries. If deviations from the above requirements are found, the consumer has the opportunity to file a complaint with the General Directorate of Industry and the General Secretariat of Industry in the prescribed manner: https://www.ggb.gr/el/complaint management system.