The meaning of FFP protection classes

Filtering facemasks offer protection in three classes: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3

Aerosols and fine particles are two of the most treacherous health risks in a working environment and yet are often imperceptible to our eyes. Filtering facepieces offer protection in three classes against these dangers: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.

The importance of respiratory protection

Dangerous particles can cause cancer or may be radioactive; others harm the respiratory system. Contact throughout decades may cause development of serious conditions. In the best case, all workers are confronted with are upsetting smells. Filtering facepieces offer protection in three classes against aqueous oily aerosols, smoke, and fine particles during work. Their protective function conforms to EU norm EN 149. This kind of facepiece is also known as particle-filtering half mask or fine particle mask and they are divided into the protection classes FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.

How do particle-filtering face masks work?

Particle-filtering face masks offer effective protection against dust, mist and fumes. The densely woven filter fabric prevents solid materials from passing through and the internal layers are electrostatically charged to ensure that hazardous materials adhere to them and cannot be inhaled. The classifying system consists of the three FFP classes, the abbreviation FFP stands for "filtering facepiece". A respirator mask covers mouth and nose and is constructed of various filter materials and the mask itself. Their use is mandatory in working environments exceeding the occupational exposure limit value (OEL). This is the maximal concentration of dust, smoke, and/or aerosols in our breathing air that won’t result in harm to health. In case of transgression, respirator masks must be worn.

Respirators are given an ‘assigned protection factor’ or APF classification to help the wearer select the right level of protection.

What do respirator masks protect against?

Depending on the total leakage and filtering of particle sizes up to 0.6 μm, respirator masks ranging from FFP1 through FFP2 to FFP3 offer breathing protection for various concentrations of pollutants. The total leakage comes about based on the filter penetration and leakages in the mouth and nose area. Our uvex respirator masks aim to avoid these by adapting our masks to human anatomy. Thanks to innovative filter technology, the breathing resistance can be held minimal and breathing isn’t exacerbated intercepted particles in the filter after multiple-time wearing.

  • Protection from atoxic and non-fibrogenic kinds of dust
  • Inhaling may result in development of health conditions; can also irritate the respiratory system and cause unpleasant odors
  • Total leakage may amount to a maximum of 25 %
  • This kind of mask may be applied under a fourfold OEL transgression at the most

Protection class FFP1 respirator masks are made for working environments in which neither poisonous nor fibrogenic kinds of dust and aerosols are to be expected. They filter at least 80 % of the particles measuring up to 0.6 μm and may be worn as long as the maximum workplace concentration transgression measures no more than the fourfold value. The building or food industry put FFP1 respirator masks to use in many cases.

  • Protection from firm and fluid deleterious kinds of dust, smoke, and aerosols
  • Particles may be fibrogenic – which means they irritate the respiratory system in the short term and can result in reduction of elasticity of pulmonary tissue in the long run
  • Total leakage may amount to a maximum of 11%
  • OEL transgression to the tenfold value

Protection class FFP2 respirator masks are made for working environments in which deleterious and mutagenic particles can be found in the breathing air. Respirator masks of this class must contain at least 94 % of the particles measuring up to 0.6 μm and may be used in environments transgressing the OEL up to a maximum of the tenfold concentration. The same goes for the TRK value (technical reference concentration). Protection class FFP2 respirator masks are often worn in the metal and mining industry. Workers in these industries are frequently in contact with aerosols, fog and smoke that result in conditions of the respiratory system such as lung cancer in the long term. On top, they harbor the massive risk of secondary diseases and active tuberculosis of the lung. Our uvex filter system with a layer of carbon protects wearers from unpleasant odors on top of the required breathing protection.

  • Protection from poisonous and deleterious kinds of dust, smoke, and aerosols
  • Oncogenic and radioactive substances or pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungal spores are filtered by this protective class of respirator masks
  • Total leakage may amount to a maximum of 5%
  • OEL transgression to the thirtyfold value

Protection class FFP3 respirator masks offer maximum protection from breathing air pollution. The total leakage may amount to a maximum of 5% and they must filter 99% of all particles measuring up to 0.6 μm. This kind of mask also filters poisonous, oncogenic and radioactive particles. Protection class FFP3 masks are used in working environments transgressing the OEL by the thirtyfold industry-specific values. They are often used in the chemistry industry.

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uvex silv-Air c range

The many design features of the uvex silv-Air c range have been developed with the wearers comfort in mind. Depending on the model, the soft foam or PE sealing lip allows the wearer to achieve a customised seal without risk of leakage.


uvex silv-Air c masks combine hard and soft materials so that there are no sharp edges and harder elements are totally concealed helping to minimise wearer distraction whilst the harder materials promote a proper fit.

Breathing resistance

The carefully chosen combination of highly functional filter materials and the uvex fine-dust filter technology ensures that the individual layers ‘clog up’ at a slower rate offering maximum protection and making breathing easier. The exhalation valve with an ultra thin membrane is ideally situated for maximum efficiency and increased speed of opening and closing. This supports the easy transfer of humidity and reduced breathing resistance helping to improve the internal mask climate. Thermal imaging of the silv-Air c pre-formed mask (Product code 8732210, FFP2 with exhalation valve) illustrates the functionality of the filter materials while breathing.

uvex silv-Air c 2100 FFP1 preformed maskFFP1 preformed mask (D); ergonomic fit; continuous headbanduvex silv-Air c 2100 FFP1 preformed mask
uvex silv-Air c 3210 FFP2 folding maskFFP2 folding mask (D); exhalation valve; individual packaging; continuous headbanduvex silv-Air c 3210 FFP2 folding mask
uvex silv-Air c 3310 FFP3 folding maskFFP3 folding mask (D); exhalation valve; individual packaging; adjustable headband lengthuvex silv-Air c 3310 FFP3 folding mask
uvex silv-Air c 2310 FFP3 preformed maskFFP3 preformed mask (D); exhalation valve; adapted for larger faces; comfortable...uvex silv-Air c 2310 FFP3 preformed mask

How to fit a flatfold P2 mask

How to fit a folding mask

How to fit a preformed mask

How to fit a preformed mask

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Combination options with uvex eyewear

Combination with uvex protective eyewear

With the aim of creating two products that can be worn together perfectly, we have developed our eyewear and breathing protection product ranges in close consultation.

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