FFP2 masks: Beware of carelessness!

Statement by Dr. Maximilian Weiß, CEO of Palas GmbH, on the extended mandatory mask requirement adopted as of yesterday.

"The mandatory wearing of FFP2 masks generally increases protection against corona. But not all masks protect as well as they should. According to the DIN EN149 standard, FFP2 masks are only allowed to have a penetration of 6 percent of airborne particles. However, of the more than 400 masks we tested in the last three months, 80 percent failed to meet this requirement for the smallest aerosol particles. In some cases, approved and CE-marked FFP2 masks showed a penetration of more than 30 percent in the range of virus particles. Therefore “beware of carelessness” with FFP2 masks."

In addition to masks of insufficient quality and in some cases counterfeit masks, the standard itself, which is used to test respirators at specified testing institutes, is also problematic. FFP2 masks are actually designed for coarser dust particles, not the smallest aerosols, and it is these larger particles that are tested for. Thus, the results from testing institutes do not reflect the degree of penetration of the smallest aerosols and incorrectly evaluate FFP2 masks in terms of protection against the smallest aerosol particles, such as corona viruses. This problem has been insufficiently addressed by consumer protection agencies, although FFP2 masks could be evaluated correctly and realistically using modern measurement methods.

The measuring devices from Palas can evaluate the quality of filters and protective masks even in the size range of virus particles. To better protect doctors, nursing staff and patients, Palas has been offering hospitals testing of the protective masks used there since December 2020: testing of FFP2 masks on the world's most advanced mask testing systems.

For more information on mask testing, visit:

Three simple tips for ensuring safer protection with FFP2 masks

1. When selecting protective masks, favor manufacturers who take quality control very seriously. Check with your supplier about their quality assurance.

2. Look for a complete and correct CE label on the FFP2 mask. Although a test according to the current standard does not reflect the degree of penetration in the range of virus particles, the CE marking is currently the only indication of quality.

3. To verify that the labeling is not a fake, you can enter the CE number on the website of the EU Commission and have the test confirmed by the mentioned test institute.


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