3 Ply Surgical/Medical Mask vs The Regular Disposable Mask

3ply masks
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3 Ply Disposable Medical Mask

A 3 ply mask with ear loops is the most standard product. It provides and additional layer from dust and air particles.  The requirements set by international and national standards organizations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials, are the defining differences that take a Mask from an “additional layer” to a Protective Device.

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To be classed as a medical mask, manufacturers have met required standards from raw materials to finished product.  The FDA references the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) as the endorsed standard for the United States.  The performance requirements classify the product as Level 1, 2, or 3.

To qualify as an ASTM Medical Mask there are five criteria to reach standard.  The higher the performance rating of the mask, the greater the protection.

Performance Measurements for Medical and Surgical Masks:

Fluid Resistance – Mask resistance to penetration by synthetic blood under pressure (mmHg). Higher resistance = higher protection

PFE Particle Filtration Efficiency –  Percentage of particles filtered out at a pore size of 0.1 – 1.0 microns (µ).

BFE Bacteria Filtration Efficiency – Percentage of particles filtered out at a pore size of 1.0 – 5.0 microns (µ).

Delta P Differential Pressure – Pressure drop across mask, or resistance to air flow in mmH2O/cm2 . Greater resistance = better protection but less breathability.

Flame Spread –  Measures the flame spread of the mask material.

In addition to these criteria all masks must be tested to an ISO certification that ensures no materials have been used in making the mask that are harmful to the wearer as it comes in contact with their skin.

That’s a lot of mumbo jumbo. What does it mean for protecting ME from Covid-19?

Protecting yourself from Covid-19 has increased security when the masks come with higher ratings in Fluid Resistance and Particle Efficiency.   The more wetness (fluid resistance) you can stop the safer you’ll be, especially in allergy season.  Under the scope, Coronavirus has a diameter of 0.12 microns making PFE rating (size of 0.1-1.0 microns) more important than the BFE rating (size of 1.0-5.0 microns).

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What’s The Difference Between N95 and KN95 Masks?


N95 versus KN95 Mask Difference Standards

An N95 mask is a filtering facepiece respirator (FFR). The Federal Code of Regulations defines a FFR to be a negative pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece or with the entire facepiece composed of the filtering medium. An N95 means the mask has been rated to filter at least 95 percent of airborne particles it encounters. The masks have also been manufactured to form a seal on the wearers face. They can be referenced as a disposable respirator, dust mask, N95, KN95, FFR, etc.

The difference between an N95 and a KN95 mask is where the mask is certified. Much like other industries, respirators/masks have different approval sources and names.

Australia/New Zealand- P2
Brazil- P2
China- KN95, KP95
Japan-DS2, DL2
India-BIS P2
Korea- 1st class
US- NIOSH N95, R95, P95

With such similar sounding names, it can be confusing to understand the difference between N95 and KN95 masks. What are KN95 masks, and are they the same as N95 masks? This handy chart explains the differences between N95 and KN95 masks (and all characteristics that are the same).

In short, N95 masks are the US standards for respirator masks; KN95 masks are the Chinese standards for masks. These are the requirements that the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health requires manufacturers to meet in order to label their masks as N95s. Despite the long list of differences, the two masks are equivalent or nearly equivalent on the features that most people care about.

Difference Between N95 and KN95 Masks

According to mask manufacturer 3M, “it is reasonable to consider” China’s KN95s “equivalent” to US N95s. Mask standards for Europe (FFP2), Australia (P2), Korea (KMOEL), and Japan (DS) are also highly similar.

Difference Between N95 vs. KN95 Masks

Both ratings require masks to be tested for filtration efficiency at capturing salt particles (NaCl). Both are tested at a flow rate of 85 L/minute. However, there are some differences between N95 and KN95, highlighted here.

KN95 vs. N95 – Differences Highlighted

Difference Between N95 and KN95 Masks Highlighted

Most of these differences are small and would be uninteresting to the average mask user. However, here are the key differences:

1. To be certified as a KN95 mask, the Chinese government requires the manufacturer to run mask fit tests on real humans with ≤ 8% leakage. The N95 mask standard does not require manufacturers to run fit tests.

This does not mean that fit tests aren’t helpful. Many hospitals and companies require their workers to be fit-tested. However, those are requirements of companies themselves, not for the US NIOSH certification on the mask.

Mask fit test requirements KN95 vs N95

2. N95 masks have slightly stricter requirements for pressure drop while inhaling. That means they’re required to be slightly more breathable than KN95 masks.

3. N95s also have slightly stricter requirements for pressure drop while exhaling, which should help with breathability.

Bottom Line: Difference Between N95 vs. KN95 Masks

N95s and KN95s are both rated to capture 95% of particles. Among the minor differences, only KN95 masks are required to pass fit tests, while N95 masks have slightly stronger breathability standards.

Illustration of people wearing cloth face masks

Can Cloth Face Coverings Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19?

In recent study “Medical mask versus cotton mask for preventing respiratory droplet transmission in micro environments

It was shown that a cloth mask can reduce respiratory droplet transmission in a bedroom or a car, and that cloth masks could be a potential substitute for medical mask.


SILVADUR Fabric Masks

Advanced, Sustainable. Anitmicrobial Control


Using patented, controlled-release technology, SILVADUR™ delivers a low concentration of silver ions to fabric surfaces to control odor-generating bacterial. 

The revolutionary technology contained in SILVADUR™ is the wolrd’s first and only aqueous -based silver-polymer delivery system. 

Patented Smart Release delivery system requires less silver to eliminate bacteria, substantially reducing waste. 


How does SILVADUR Antimicrobial Fabric Technology Work?

SILVADUR™ antimicrobial technology is a polymer-containing silver-technology that delivers silver ions when organisms land or form on a treated fabric. These ions continually release to safely minimize microbes that cause odor and material degradation.


SILVADUR long lasting antimicrobial technology unites the elemental powers of silver ions with a patented delivery system to create an extremely effective, highly durable antimicrobial.

Through state of the art engineering, SILVADUR utilizes a proprietary, safe polymer that complexes silver ions into a durable antimicrobial that prevents microorganism reproduction.


Silver ions (Ag+) are a natural and trusted antimicrobial agent used for more than 2,000 years

The product provides reliable and durable antimicrobial protection against bacteria prevalent on textile surfaces

It is retained longer on fabric substrates, providing a longer garment life

The antimicrobial technology requires less silver to deliver high performance on a variety of fabric surfaces



It uses silver ions (Ag+) rather than silver particles

The product relies on bound silver so no free silver is released into the environment

Polymers adhere inherently to fiber surfaces, providing long lasting antimicrobial protection on fabrics

It is recyclable and reusable during processing applications due to its inherent UV stability and water solubility



It is formulated to provide a low concentration of free silver ions and creates no build-up of free silver, preventing discoloration and facilitating long lasting antimicrobial performance

Articles treated with SILVADUR™ antimicrobial are non-toxic, non-sensitizing, and non-irritating to human skin

The enhanced freshness that SILVADUR™ long lasting antimicrobial provides means fewer washings are required, which benefits consumer and the environment alike

The proprietary SILVADUR™ antimicrobial technology releases silver ions only when they are needed, ensuring that more active material remains bound to the textile surface for long term antimicrobial protection. As a result, both garment turnover and the amount of silver released into the environment are reduced.



SILVADUR™ antimicrobial has been assessed as harmless to human health and added to the list of active chemical products approved by the International Oeko-Tex® Association. It is registered with the U.S. EPA and its active ingredient is notified and supported under the EU Biocidal Products Registry (BPR). In addition, SILVADUR™ antimicrobial technology is registered to meet REACH requirements in the European Union.


KN95 Respirator Masks Now available

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