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Which FFP grade respirator mask do I need? | LESH

So, you have been told to use a dust mask, and during your shopping you have noticed there are different types and grades called FFP, what’s this about then?

There are many types of masks available, from half face, full face, powered, non-powered etc. however, we will focus on the masks commonly known as dust masks in this publication or a disposable half face mask.

Put in the simplest term FFP means Filtering Face Piece and comes in 3 grades FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. FFP3 offering the best protection against the finest of dusts and FFP1 offering protection against larger particles only.


FFP1 filters catch at least 80% of the particles which measure up to 0.6 Microns. These filters should only be used in areas where the Occupational Exposure Levels are less than a fourfold value (4 times the Workplace Exposure Limit WEL listed in the free to download EH40 HSE document, usually around 4-10 mg.m³ for dusts, but check the EH40 document to check your specific WEL). FFP1 filters should not be used for poisonous or fibrogenic dusts types. Leakages may occur with these masks so should only be used around low risk dusts.

Suitable for tasks such as hand sanding, drilling and cutting, sweeping etc.


FFP2 respirator masks offer better protection than FFP1 masks, they can be used around smoke, aerosols and fibrogenic particles. FFP2 masks can be used in conditions where the WEL/OEL is exceeded no more than 10 fold. FFP2 respirator masks can be used in metal industries and mining industries where aerosols, smoke and fog/mists from cutting fluids may be present.


FFP3 respirator masks offer the best protection against fine dusts, smoke and aerosols. FFP3 masks can also be used to protect against viruses, bacteria and fungal spores, and are effective in areas where the WEL/OEL is exceeded no more than a threefold value.

FFP3 respirators filter 99% of particles measuring up to 0.6 microns.


For a selection of suitable respirators see See