What is the ASTM standard and how do you get it?

  • In February 2021, ASTM issued the first voluntary standard directed at face coverings intended to apply to the public. Previously, ASTM standards had only addressed medical masks. The goal of the standard was to provide Origin of the Standard to provide a consistent way to benchmark products to inform user selection decisions and to define performance requirements for source control and protective capability of barrier face coverings.
  • The standard requires reporting on two classifications for Filtration and Breathability:
      • Level 1: Low Performance
        • Filtration of at least 20% of particles smaller than a micron
        • Breathability (air flow resistance) less than or equal to 15 millimeters of water column
      • Level 2: High Performance
        • Filtration of at least 50% of particles smaller than a micron
        • Breathability (air flow resistance) less than or equal to 5 millimeters of water column
  • To meet the standard, masks must be tested by an independent third-party lab. The products that meet the standard can state that they meet ASTM F3502. Aries Work Week Barrier Face Coverings provide Level 2 (High) performance on both filtration and breathability.
  • Note: ASTM does not “certify” masks. If you see a mask that claims ASTM certification, you most likely are not dealing with a true ASTM-compliant mask.