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Home > Blog > Are Chinese KN-95 Masks the New Standard Alternative for N95 Respirators

Are Chinese KN-95 Masks the New Standard Alternative for N95 Respirators

By admin on Apr 28, 2020

Are Chinese KN-95 Masks the New Standard Alternative for N95 Respirators

With the frontline workers like Doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers and policemen getting acute shortages in protective masks, the Food and Drug Administration also recently announced that it soon will allow usage of widely available KN95 masks that meet Chinese standards rather than American ones.

With Hospitals across the U.S. facing shortages of N95 respirators meant to filter a minimum of 95% particles of 0.3 microns or higher – including the novel coronavirus, the China KN95 mask is set to enter the market to meet the demands.

Resembling a lot of similarities with the N95s, these masks have slightly different specifications.

With emergency authorization provided for the KN95 respirators, a lot of people are still skeptical regarding their use and whether they’re helpful for protection against the COVID-19 disease or not. Let’s find it out!

Some Facts About KN95 Masks

Some critical facts are there for the China KN95 mask that everyone must know.

  • These masks are only advised for workers in the healthcare sectors. Other public members must look out for alternatives like clothing masks. This is because of KN95 mask shortages. Also, workers of the healthcare sector can be considered as providers of essential services and they require additional protection.
  • The KN95 face masks require 95% filter performance, similar to N95 masks. The filter performance would be same like that of N95 respirators from the U.S. However, the difference is between the manufacturing countries and manufacturers. This is only a slight difference.
  • The design of both these masks are meant to get closed facial fit for the best protection. The reason for wearing mask would be to protect face against any exposure to viruses and germs.
  • With its universal design it can fit with any face type.
  • KN95 masks are usable as standard alternatives for N95 masks in U.S. This is for countering shortages in costumes that are experienced worldwide.

KN95 Mask Filter Function

There are five filter function layers in KN95 face masks which are mainly as:

  • First filtering layer: This is meant for filtering micron dust particles.
  • Second filter layer: This is for filtering automobile exhaust and industrial pollutants.
  • Third filter layer: This layer filters dust microns.
  • The Fourth layer: This is meant for filtering materials
  • The Fifth layer: This is ideal for filtering harmful materials.

Difference between KN95 and N95 masks

There are a lot of similarities between KN95 and N95 respirator masks but these get manufactured and regulated through Chinese government. In fact, KN95 respirator simply is Chinese code for U.S. N95 coded mask; however, pressure wise it has a slight variation as the mask should bear well when wearer breathes when compared to N95 masks. Also, it has slight other specification differences.

However, similarly to N95 masks, the KN95s also provide filter protection of 95% of particulates with 0.3-micron size. Also, the design of these masks is kept in mind for achieving close facial fit to get optimum level of protection.

In a lot of cases, the KN95 masks get authorized by Centers for Disease Control for using in U.S. as a recommended alternative in situations when there is low supply for N95 masks.

However, these only become eligible for F.D.A approval after meeting specific criteria, such as authenticity proof, safety certificates, along with lab reports.

Mask Testing – KN95 vs N95

Both N95 and KN95 masks can be held for a lot of regulatory standards throughout world as various other countries of filtering facepiece respirators.

The standards spell out physical properties that are required, along with performance qualities that masks can easily meet for ordering these to get deemed complaint with said standards. In a lot of emergency situations like pandemic, the health authorities can also refer to such standards on recommendation of respirator masks.

A lot of filtering facepiece respirators have similar standards for regulation, meaning that they undergo similar respirator rating with lab testing, with common test rating being its effectiveness capabilities for filtering certain particles.

Thus, you’ll be able to presume respirators for meeting stated performance standards and function of compliance comparably to these.

For instance, as these share similar standard requirements, both US NIOSH N95 mask with China KN95 mask has been expected for capturing 0.3-micron particulates at 95%. Also, both have been designed for getting a tight fit around face.

Both masks offer similar protection against the oil-free suspended particulates in air.

When Should the KN95 be disposed?

While the reuse of KN95 respirator face mask is possible, some limitations are there for it. If you’re experiencing any form of breathing difficulty through the use of KN95 mask because of reusing or extended use, it’s best to dispose the mask off. Also, when KN95 mask goes through any form of damage, it’s best to immediately dispose it.

Extending the usage of mask

Slight differences are present between extending use and reusing mask. A lot of experts have recommended extended face mask usage instead of reusing it. So, if you’re working on shift, the face mask needs to be put on until you’re done with your turn. It’s recommended not often to put on and remove the mask. It must be noted that among the different ways through which COVID-19 disease spreads is by touching the face.

So, by wearing and removing the mask quite often you’re just increasing the risk of catching the disease.

The N95 mask safety is dependent on its storage as well. When the mask is not in use, these face masks must be kept in container with enough circulation of air. Therefore, when exposing the KN95 on open empty surface increases chance of infections.

Important Note

China KN95 mask is ideal for protection with reduced risk of exposure against germs or viruses. However, when this is not used well, you’re still at much greater risk of being infected. The best ways of avoiding this would be after learning when and how you’ll correctly be able to use masks. You can follow simple steps for putting the mask on or off:

Washing the hands thoroughly before you put mask on in recommended. The use of running water and soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer is recommended.

The veil shouldn’t be touched on front side while putting the mask off as it might be contaminated.

Always wash your hands immediately after you’ve disposed of the mask.

The China KN95 mask is meant to dispose of right after usage but it goes long way for prevention of COVID-19 spread. However, if you’re planning on reusing the mask, there are certain guidelines that must be followed for making the mask safe for use. Also, it’s not recommended to wash before reuse.

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