What’s the difference between a P2 mask and N95?
It’s a tricky distinction and one the Government makes even harder by failing to distinguish the two in their resources. Both N95 and P2 masks are half-face particulate respirators that filter out more than 94% of airborne particles, and they are both manufactured to protect against biologically active particles such as those generated by the COVID-19 virus.
The difference between what is labelled as an N95 mask vs. a P2 mask is mostly due to their adherence to specific standards in different regions.
N95 masks comply with NiOSH (following USA and Canada testing requirements) while P2 masks comply with the AS/NZS1716 standards for use in Australia and New Zealand, following EC (European testing requirements).
N95 vs. P2 mask standards
Due to the different standards they are manufactured to comply with, there are a few differences between the two. N95 masks are tested for filtration against a flow rate of 85 litres per minute in accordance with US testing requirements, while P2 masks are tested at a flow rate of 95 litres per minute.
Additionally, P2 masks are required to conduct a fit test on a human in order to be certified and approved for sale. N95 masks do not have the same requirement under the NiOSH standards.
The AS/NZS1716 standards require P2 masks to have ‘exhalation resistance’, meaning they are easier to breathe out of. Australia also requires that manufacturers test P2 masks for CO2 clearance to prevent CO2 from building up inside the respirator when used. N95 masks are not required to undergo the same testing.
Under their respective standards, P2 masks are required to filter at least 94% of airborne particles, while N95 masks are required to filter at least 95%. That being said, our AMD P2 masks have a nano-filter that goes beyond this requirement, filtering out 99.66% of airborne particles. This has been tested by VICLAB (BSI) 17.7.20 and you can learn more about that here.
So what’s the key difference between an N95 mask and an AMD P2 respirator?
An N95 mask filter is typically produced by a melt-blown process, while AMD P2 respirators are produced with a nanofiber filter. Nanofiber filters have been proven to uphold better filtration efficiency when exposed to moisture or sterilisation processes.
In comparison to melt-blown filters, nanofiber filters have higher heat emission and carbon dioxide emission performance, allowing for better breathability. In a safety experiment using human skin and vascular cells, nanofiber filters displayed lower cytotoxicity than melt-blown filters.
SafeWork NSW, SafeWork SA, WorkSafe WA and the Health and Safety Association of NZ have supported A Guide to Buying P2, or Equivalent, Respirators for use in the Australian &New Zealand Work Environment which outlines the differences between P2, N95, KN95 and FFP2 respirators.
As you can see below, P2 respirators are the preferred respirator for use in the Australian or New Zealand work environment to filter out airborne particles.
AMD P2 masks are the first Australian P2 masks — they are the first P2 respirators to be manufactured down under, undergoing rigorous testing as required by the AS/NZS 1716:2012 standards.
The manufacturing and design process of AMD’s P2 respirators has taken into consideration multiple tests and interviews with medical staff who use masks on a day-to-day basis. These Australian P2 masks are designed in collaboration with renowned medical professionals to ensure that AMD are manufacturing the best P2 respirators they can for the Australian market.
Due to AMD’s careful design and manufacture, the nanofiber filter used in our P2 respirators maintain high filtering efficiency for 24 hours even after coming in contact with moisture. This allows for longer wear compared to masks made with melt-blown filters and even other nanofiber filters on the market, making AMD P2 masks more protective and easier to breathe in.
While N95 masks are required to filter at least 95% of airborne particles and P2 masks are required to filter at least 94%, our AMD P2 masks surpass other options on the market. With a high filtration efficiency through 4 protective layers, you get a 99.66% Particle Filtration Efficiency (PPE) and a 99.92% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE).
Read more about our Australian P2 masks here and purchase a box of 50 here.