ASTM Mask Levels
ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international organization that develops and publishes technical standards for a wide range of products, materials and services.
In fact, ASTM International sets the international standard in healthcare for optimal practices in pathogen protection. This includes testing and requirements for the performance of personal protective equipment (PPE) materials – including masks.
There are three levels of ASTM-rated masks, each level offers a different amount of protection from pathogens.
ASTM LEVEL 1
ASTM Level 1 masks are often referred to as low-risk, low fluid transfer procedural masks. The fit and filtration on these masks are often poor-to-moderate. ASTM International indicates that these masks offer minimal protection, and higher-level masks should be used in environments where fluid resistance is required.
ASTM LEVEL 2
These masks are intended for environments where fluid transmission is higher and more protection is required, such as operating rooms. The closer fit to the face allows additional protection and fluid resistance.
ASTM LEVEL 3
The highest-rated masks by ASTM standards offer the highest level of protection from fluids and the highest levels of filtration to protect wearers from airborne pathogens or inhalation of smoke and fumes. These masks offer significant protection against airborne transmissible diseases.
Point.1 Nano Masks are an ASTM Level 3 rated mask.
THE 4 F's TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT MASK
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When you’re in an environment where airborne pathogens or inhalation of smoke or other irritants is possible, you want to opt for a high filtration mask. This means opting for a high-level ASTM mask.
Whether at risk of simple bodily fluid exposures like particles from sneezing or coughing, or more complex fluids like blood or other bodily fluid splatter, wearing a recommended ASTM Level 3 fluid-resistant mask is critical.
The fit of your mask is vital for protection from pathogens; if a mask does not fit snugly to the face, the advertised filtration capabilities are drastically reduced. Adjusting the ties of the mask or using a mask clip will allow you to adjust the mask to optimally fit your face. For children, opt for masks that are made specifically with their sizing in mind.
Securement features, such as loops, ties, or mask clips, can assure a closer fit to the face and offer further protection. Anti-fog film, foam, paper tape, or adjustable straps on the nose of the mask can offer a closer fit and less fogging when wearing glasses or eye protection.