What are KF94 masks?
KF94 is the most popular highest Korean mask standard used throughout Korea.
There is a KF99 which has the highest filtration level but it is much harder to breathe through so its not popular. For practical reasons, 94% filtration level of viruses, fine dust (PM2.5) and bacteria is sufficient. KF 94 is the best and most loved standard in Korea.
How does KF94 compares with USA N95 and the European FFP2 standard?
You can see from the chart below that the performance is about the same. However, there is ONE BIG DIFFERENCE.
N95 and FFP2 standards are for medical use. They are not recommended for consumer use. Whereas KF94 on a daily basis throughout the year is being used in Korea by consumers due to the year-round fine dust problem that is being blown from China to South Korea.
Because the KF94 standard is designed for consumer use (non medical), they are many design differences between KF94 and N95 and FFP2.
The KF94 is consumer friendly. There are at least 4 differences:
1). KF94 is very user friendly. As it is designed for the consumers, it can be used by anyone, including kids.
2). They are easy to put on and take off allowing the user to easily remove in restaurants etc.
3). They are much easier to breath through.
4). They can be folded and easily carried around.
This explains why the KF94 masks are the most popular highest standard masks used throughout the year in Korea. it is also trusted worldwide by consumers who are familiar with Korean and Korean products.
Note: There is a lower standard called KF80. Then below that is the KFAD which essentially is what most countries call the surgical masks. Surgical masks are the lowest standard and offer the least level of protection. It is absoultely useless against haze and PM2.5. Against Covid, surgical masks offer limited protection in non crowded, non intimate settings. When you're in crowded settings like the lifts, cinemas, plane etc, always use KF94 masks instead of surgical masks.
Some countries like the CDC have recommended using 2 layers of surgical or cloth masks. When you use KF94, there is no need to do that. Just one layer of KF94 is all you need because it will fit snugly around you face due to the ergonomic design that Korean masks manufacturers have mastered from decades of mask making!
WHAT ABOUT SURGICAL MASKS?
Surgical masks are medical masks and typically rated by bacteria filtration efficiency or BFE and not PFE (particle filtration efficiency.) A BFE of 99% however may be more highly rated than most people are aware of. This is because viruses are more like fine dust particles like PM2.5 particles than bacteria. Even a surgical mask that has been rated for PFE is not as effective as the rating by N95 or KF94. This is because one of the biggest problem of surgical masks is the face seal factor.
What is the level of protection offered by surgical masks due to facial leakage compared to KF94 and N95 masks with little facial leakage? A study by JHI (Journal of Hospital Infection) shows that the surgical mask has only a 63% block rate for tiny virus-sized particles due to facial leakage as compared to 95% for N95 respirators (or 94% for KF94). Wearing 2 layers of surgical mask gives a block rate of 74%. Wearing 5 layers, a block rate of only 82%. Or 13% less effective than one N95 and 12% less effective than one KF94 mask.
So 5 layers of surgical mask is less effective than just one layer of KF94 or N95. What about the cost and comfort level?
When we compare the price of one surgical mask vs one KF94 mask, the surgical mask may seem cheaper. Like many things, there is always a reason for being cheaper. In this case, it is cheaper because it offers less protection.
When we compare price/performance and not just price, the more expensive product sometimes turns out to be cheaper after all.
The most practical and effective protection therefore is to use a KF94 mask. N95 masks should be reserved for medical professionals as it is not easy to use and medical professionals are properly trained on how to use it. KF94 mask is a non medical, consumer masks used by Koreans throughout the year to fight against fine dust and PM2.5 particles. And now it is keeping Koreans and the world safe by fighting against viruses. Thanks to Korea for this wonderful invention. 화이팅!
A study by the NIH: "Effectiveness of surgical, KF94, and N95 respirator masks in blocking SARS-CoV-2: a controlled comparison in 7 patients."
Results: A total of 7 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection participated in the mask test. SARS-CoV-2 was detected on the petri dishes after coughing in 3 out of 7 cases with the surgical mask or no mask. Viral particles were not found in the petri dishes after coughing while wearing the N95 mask or the KF94 mask. While viral particles were detected in both the inner and outer surfaces of the surgical masks, those were detected only in the inner surfaces of the N95 and K94 masks.
CHEAPEST KF94 MADE IN KOREA MASKS IN SINGAPORE!
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