Certified vs. uncertified masks in India

| | Sumit Roy

After the invasion of COVID-19, N95 masks have become one of the most important protective gears. Experts in health and wellbeing have continuously recommended N95 and FFP2 masks for being ideal against the COVID-19 virus and are considered effective against airborne droplets and particles. The FFP2 and N95 masks are certified as compared to surgical masks and ordinary cloth because of their design to fit very close to the face and are effective in filtering out maximum airborne particles.  

Although in the past 2 years of the pandemic, multiple uncertified and fake masks manufacturers have successfully penetrated the marketplace, making it difficult to distinguish between certified and uncertified masks. These counterfeit masks have been able to flood local stores and e-Commerce platforms in India. Therefore one must be able to recognize red flags while going for these items, to protect themselves and others.  


How to know that a mask is certified 

Certified respirator masks are mostly developed and regulated by various bodies in different countries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is a certified body for  N95 masks in the US, whereas FFP2 masks are certified in India by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The standards met by FFP2 masks are as per their performance and ability to filter the airborne particles. Each of the FFP2 masks provided by Mallcom undergoes precise testing on efficacy and quality performance as stated by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).   

There are a number of factors that need to be considered before buying FFP2/N95 masks. These factors are mentioned below:  

  • FFP2/N95 masks with exhalation valves are only beneficial to cut moisture.  
  • After disposing of your FFP2/N95 mask, put it in a trash or sealed disposable bag to avoid environmental contact and sanitize your hand with soap and water.  
  • Every FFP2/N95 mask is prescribed based on the duration of exposure. It may not provide appropriate filtration from pollutants and viruses if used beyond that.  

How do FFP2 and N95 work 

The FFP2 and N95 masks act as a barrier to the transmission of airborne viruses or infection. The precisely tested FFP2 & N95 masks mostly consist of five layers of charged melt-blown filters along with non-woven plastic. These masks are useful in providing protection against airborne particulates such as bacteria, viruses, and dust particles that are as small as 0.3 microns. These masks are designed for providing a better fit and minimal leakage from the sides. Along with that, they also protect the wearer from inhaling the particulates released by others.  

 They are also effective in protecting others around an infected person as they filter out the exhaled air and prevent the spread to an uninfected person.  


The outbreak of COVID-19 has made facemasks an absolute necessity for our lives. While searching for certified N95 or FFP2 masks on eCommerce websites, you will find hundreds of masks claiming to be certified for protection against Coronavirus. But many of them are sold by third-party sellers. Therefore, it is essential to check the original certification of NIOSH N95, CE certification or CM  before purchasing one.  


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