ASTM Publishes F3502 – Standard Specification for Barrier Face Coverings

SAFEGUARDS | Personal and Protective EquipmentNO. 016/21

 SG 01621 Mask

The ASTM Subcommittee for Respiratory Protection (F23.65) has published F3502 - Standard Specification for Barrier Face Coverings. 

Intended to be worn by the general public and workers, barrier face coverings are defined as a product worn on the face specifically covering at least the wearer’s nose and mouth with the primary purpose of providing source control and to provide a degree of particulate filtration to reduce the amount of inhaled particulate matter.

ASTM F3502 establishes minimum design, performance (testing), labeling, user instruction, reporting and classification, and conformity assessment requirements for both single and reusable face coverings. 

Performance Classification

Evaluating sub-micron particulate filtration efficiency and air flow resistance, barrier face coverings can each be classified into two levels, with Level 1 criteria being the minimum acceptable.

Performance Property Level 1 (Lower Performance) Level 2 (Higher Performance)
Sub-micron particulate filtration efficiency
≥ 20%
≥ 50%
Air flow resistance, inhalation
≤ 15 mm H2O ≤ 5 mm H2O

Service Life

Reusable face coverings must state “service life”, defined as the maximum number of use and laundering or cleaning cycles that barrier face coverings can undergo and still maintain their performance level properties. Service life claim validation requires confirming barrier face coverings must have the above properties tested before washing (“pristine” condition) and after the number of wash/care cycles specified.

Conformity Assessment

Barrier face coverings that are declared compliant with this standard specification shall meet or exceed all Model A requirements for conformity assessment specified in Annex A3 of Guide F3050 with a number of additions (see ASTM F3502 for details).

One such addition, barrier face coverings shall have the below barrier performance tests carried out by an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory.  

  • Sub-micron particulate filtration efficiency
  • Air flow resistance

ASTM F3502 is available at along with 28 other COVID-related ASTM standards. 

SGS Capability

SGS can assist with those seeking to conform their barrier face coverings to ASTM F3502. Contact us today to find out how we can support you. 

George Hillier 
t: +517 240 1356
SGS-IBR: 11599 Morrissey Road, Grass Lakes, Michigan 49240

From public transport to intensive care units, personal protective equipment (PPE) has never been more important. Protecting people from COVID-19 is the number one priority for individuals, business, organizations and governments. Face masks are now compulsory in many settings. Our testing and certification services verify your product's effectiveness and compliance with the regulations enforced by your destination market. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Contact us for more information or visit our website.

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