The COVID-19 pandemic has made face masks essential to our daily lives. With the increased demand for masks, a standardized way to categorize them has become necessary. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed a categorization system that classifies masks based on their level of protection. This article will discuss the ASTM Level 2 mask, its specifications, and its usage.
What Is It?
ASTM Level 2 masks are medical-grade face masks that offer moderate fluid resistance, bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE), and breathability. They are designed for use in healthcare settings with a moderate risk of exposure to bodily fluids and other potentially infectious materials.
Specifications of ASTM Level 2 Masks
The ASTM has established specific performance criteria that ASTM Level 2 masks must meet. Some of the key specifications of ASTM Level 2 masks include:
ASTM Level 2 masks must have a minimum fluid resistance of 120 mmHg. This means they are resistant to fluids such as blood and bodily fluids that may come in contact with the mask during medical procedures.
Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE)
ASTM Level 2 masks must have a BFE of at least 98%. This measures the mask’s effectiveness in filtering bacteria from the air that passes through it.
ASTM Level 2 mask must have a differential pressure of less than 6.0 mm H2O/cm2. The differential pressure measures the resistance of airflow through the mask. Masks with lower differential pressure are more comfortable to wear for extended periods, as they are easier to breathe through.
In addition to the specifications mentioned above, ASTM Level 2 masks must also meet flammability, biocompatibility, and microbial cleanliness requirements.
Usage of ASTM Level 2 Masks
ASTM Level 2 masks are intended for use in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and dental offices. They are ideal for procedures like oral surgery, where there is a moderate risk of exposure to bodily fluids.
It is crucial to note that ASTM Level 2 masks are not suitable for use in high-risk settings such as the ICU, where the risk of exposure to bodily fluids is much higher. A higher-level mask, such as an ASTM Level 3 or N95 mask, would be more appropriate in such settings.
To summarize, ASTM Level 2 masks are medical-grade face masks with moderate fluid resistance, bacterial filtration efficiency, and breathability. They are designed for use in healthcare settings where the risk of exposure to bodily fluids is moderate. Suppose you are in the healthcare industry or planning a medical procedure. In that case, it is essential to understand the different levels of masks and which is appropriate for your situation.
When purchasing masks, it is essential to ensure that they meet the ASTM standards for the desired level of protection. The ASTM has published a list of approved manufacturers and vendors for ASTM Level 2 masks, which can be found on their website.
Stay informed about the latest guidelines from health authorities regarding masks usage since they are constantly being updated based on new information. By making sure that you’re using the right kind of mask in the appropriate way can help stop the spread of COVID-19.