P2 respirator masks are specialty masks designed to provide protection against air-borne particles including viruses, bacteria, dust, haze, droplets and other particles. These offer a much higher level of respiratory protection from harmful particles than surgical masks or other disposable masks as they reduce exposure to airborne particles. P2 masks are worn over the mouth and nose, and form a tight seal with no air leaks when worn correctly. With this tight seal in place, P2 respirator masks have a filtration efficiency of 94 percent - meaning they can filter out 95 percent of particles from the air. For this reason, P2 face masks are considered medical grade or industrial grade, and are generally only recommended for medical workers or construction workers at risk of inhaling harmful particles.
The CPAP Clinic is a medical specialist group and a proud supplier of a range of PPE products, including a variety of competitively priced respirator face masks and P2 masks. For any questions relating to our P2 respirators, we have clinicians able to assist you. We can be contacted by calling 1300 76 29 39 or emailing us on email@example.com.
Most P2 masks are designed to be disposable masks, and should only be used once. Most disposable P2 masks are designed with a nose clip or strip which can be moulded to the face to ensure a tight seal. This seal is crucial to prevent air leaks which would compromise the levels of protection offered by the mask. As a result, these masks are not effective if the wearer has any facial hair between the mask and the face. Professional advice recommends that users shave any facial hair before wearing P2 and N95 face masks.
To offer a higher level of respiratory protection, most P2 face masks utilise 4-5 layers of special melt-blown nonwoven fabric of moderate thickness for optimal particle absorption. A special electrostatic filter helps to capture more harmful particles from the air to provide better respiratory protection. However, as these disposable P2 face masks are tightly sealed with high filtration efficiency, they can be difficult to breathe easily in. As a result, professional advice recommends that these masks not be worn by people with breathing difficulties such as asthma, or in an area with low oxygen concentration, or to be used for too long a time period.
P2 Masks and PM2.5 masks
P2 masks are often confused with PM2.5 face masks. PM2.5 masks provide respiratory protection against small particles in haze and smoke which can enter the lungs, and even the blood stream. However, most airborne particles (including particles containing viruses) are significantly smaller than this. PM2.5 masks will not offer protection against these particles, and are not equivalent to other respirators. Only KN95, P2 and N95 masks can protect against these even smaller particles.
Different types of respirators
There are several different types of respirator masks, which are marginally different to each other. These differences are minimal and all of these respirator masks deliver a comparable level of respiratory protection from harmful particles. For example, P2 masks are not the same as N95 masks, but P2 and N95 face masks offer extremely similar levels of respiratory protection, along with KN95 respirators.
P2 Respirators: P2 masks are graded according to an Australian standard. These are certified to filter at least 94% of airborne particles/aerosols.
N95 Respirators: N95 Respirators are graded according to an American standard. These are certified to filter at least 95% of airborne particles/aerosols.
KN95 Respirators: KN95 Respirators are graded according to a Chinese standard. These are certified to filter at least 95% of airborne particles/aerosols.
There are other differences between the testing conditions of these respirator masks, including the requirements they have to pass for inward leakage, flow rates, inhalation resistance and more. You can find a more thorough comparison [here](https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1791500O/comparison-ffp2-kn95-n95-filtering-facepiece-respirator-classes-tb.pdf)
Fitting and wearing a P2 Mask
P2 face masks need to be fitted to be worn correctly. This is called a ‘fit test’. Healthcare and industrial workers who need to wear P2 respirators need to be trained on how to conduct a fit test to ensure respirators are worn correctly.
According to professional advice, to wear a P2 mask and conduct a fit test properly, you can follow the following steps.
- Holding the mask, place the P2 respirator on your face
- Place the headband or ties over your head and at the base of your neck, or around your ears
- Press the respirator onto your face to ensure a seal across your face, cheeks and the bridge of your nose
- Check the positive pressure seal of the respirator by gently exhaling. If air escapes, the respirator needs to be adjusted
- Check the negative pressure seal of the respirator by gently inhaling. If the respirator is not drawn in towards your face, or air leaks around the face seal, readjust the respirator and repeat process, or check for defects in the respirator
- Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for fit checking of individual brands and types of P2 and N95 respirators
When wearing a disposable P2 mask, you should avoid touching the mask or leaving it dangling around your neck. P2 face masks should be changed when they become moist, and disposed of in a closed bin.
How long do P2 filters last?
Some industrial P2 masks used by workers to reduce exposure to dust, mists, smoke and fumes are designed to be re-used with replaceable filters. These P2 masks should not be used for infection control. For industrial workers, P2 filters should be replaced whenever they are damaged, or when it becomes too difficult to breathe whilst wearing the mask. This will vary from person to person, and job to job.