At the request of a variety of market parties and stakeholders, the standardisation institute NEN has taken the initiative to draft a certification scheme for face masks for public use (i.e. non-medical). As the only certification body in the committee of experts, Kiwa was actively involved from the very beginning in the creation of this certification scheme.
Since December 1st of last year, consumers have been required to wear a face mask in all indoor public spaces. This has led to a massive influx of face masks from all parts of the world, featuring a wide variety of models and materials. Until recently, however, consumers did not have access to any guidance in evaluating the quality of the available face masks, since—contrary to medical-grade masks—there were no applicable quality standards.
For this reason, the standardisation institute NEN decided to develop a certification scheme for face masks for public use. As a part of this new quality control, uniform tests are conducted to evaluate breathing resistance, wearing comfort, flammability, but also bacterial filter efficiency and chemical content.
Kiwa, a participation of NPM Capital, was one of the contributors to the rapid development of the certification scheme. Leendert van der Marel, director of business development at Kiwa: 'Thanks to our broad expertise in developing certification schemes, as well as the specific knowledge we have regarding the certification of medical face masks, we were able to make a meaningful contribution to effective procedures and relevant requirements. It is crucial that the certifying bodies take the samples for the tests themselves. But they should also be able to visit the production site, wherever it is. The global network of Kiwa branches makes that possible in all countries where the masks are manufactured.'
Face masks for public use with a high degree of efficacy should completely cover the nose and mouth of the wearer, and they should be as comfortable as possible. Good air filtration, breathable fabrics and fitting comfort are crucial factors. The NEN-certification offers the wearer of a face mask the certainty that all these criteria are met.
Further reading: Kiwa launches quality mark for COVID-19 prevention measures