VLOG: Fluid Resistance Testing for Surgical Masks and Respirators

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Healthcare workers. Not only are they vital to providing patients with the care that they need, but some of the personal protective equipment (PPE) they use needs to meet certain standards to help protect them from hazards they face in the forms of fluids, particulates, and other materials.

N95 surgical respirators are disposable filtering facepiece particulate respirators that are also cleared by the FDA as surgical masks for use in surgery and similar applications in hospitals and when properly fitted and worn help reduce particles that could be inhaled or expelled by the wearer. Surgical masks serve as a barrier between a healthcare worker and their environment, including their patient. Surgical masks are worn during surgery and other certain key tasks to help prevent particles that are expelled by healthcare professionals from contaminating a patient or a sterile field.

They can also help prevent high velocity sprays such as arterial spray from reaching a healthcare professional’s mouth and nose. In addition to providing the functions of a surgical mask, surgical N95 respirators also help reduce the wearer’s exposure to particles such as those that might be expelled by a patient.

One performance test that is required for surgical masks and surgical N95 respirators is fluid resistance testing. Different standards are used around the globe for testing the fluid resistance capabilities of surgical masks and surgical N95 respirators. All of these standards evaluate a product’s ability to withstand a high velocity stream of synthetic blood. This is meant to simulate a situation where a patient’s blood vessel is punctured during surgery. Learn more about it by watching this quick video:

The ASTM F1862-07 test procedure shown in the above video is as an example. After the test, the respirator is examined to determine whether any synthetic blood has penetrated the respirate. If no synthetic blood has penetrated the respirator, the product is deemed to have passed the test.

Fluid resistant surgical masks and N95 surgical respirators can be used to help protect doctors, nurses, technicians and others tasked with helping people in clinics, urgent care facilities, hospitals and other places that provide treatment.

If you have any questions about how to properly use this respiratory protection, contact your local 3M representatives.