On Jan 27, the French government published a decree to clarify that Face covering masks with a filtration efficiency lower than 90% are not recommended due to Covid-19 virus mutation.

SAFEGUARDS | Personal and Protective EquipmentNO. 020/21

 SG 02021 Masks

The Covid-19 virus changes and mutates, creating variants which may be more contagious, or more dangerous than the original strain.

To avoid the spread of this mutated virus, the Public Health High Council (Haut conseil de la Santé publique) has recommended to use masks with a higher filtration efficiency and to address this France has published a decree n° 2021-76 on 27th, Jan. 2021 and updated the Cross Ministries Note on 28th, Jan. 2021

Decree mentions:

  • Face masks are mandatory in any public area.
  • At point of sale, compliant masks must be separated from non-compliant masks and distributors must inform when masks comply or not with sanitary authorities' recommendations.
  • Face masks must comply with requirements listed and belong to one of below categories:
    • Surgical masks defined as Medical devices whatever they are called, complying with EN 14683+AC:2019 (or equivalent)
    • Imported masks, with surgical shape, excluding textile fabric masks, which performs at least equal to masks mentioned at the 4th bullet point
    • Mask FFP2 or FFP3 (EN 149 or equivalent) without expiratory valve
    • Masks for Non-Sanitary Use (UNS) complying with:
      • Particles filtration efficiency > 90% (3 microns)
      • Breathability allowing wearing the mask for 4 hours
      • Air permeability > 96L/m²/s (differential pressure 100Pa)
      • Good fit of the mask on the face, no sagittal seam
      • If reusable, > 5 washes
        Above requirements must be checked by an approved 3rd party lab and according to conditions mentioned in government decision.

It is important to note that reusable textile masks can still be used if they comply with this updated requirement.

The main purpose and requirements are similar with previous version of Cross Ministries Note but:

  • The care cycle can be 40°C (instead of 60), can be machine washed or handwashed, drying can be air dry or tumble dry and ironing depends on manufacturer's instruction
  • Filtration efficiency must be > 90% (strictly). Test method is still DGA method Annex 2
  • Logo has been updated and must be put on product, label or packaging
    Information must be given before the purchase to consumers or buyers, even for on-line or mail order selling.
    Previous logo Cat 1 can be used until the 31/12/2021 for goods which have been produced or imported before the 1st of March 2021.
  • Mask Cat 2 cannot be sold as Masque Grand Public anymore
  • Data record which was requested by DGE (on their website) is applicable until 31/03/2020.
    This obligation is not applicable after the 1st of April 2021 (but will probably be kept as voluntary to allow market surveyance and customs to check compliance of the products.
  • Masks "Grand Public filtration supérieure à 90%" are clearly said they cannot be washed more than 50 cycles.

Available in French only, the last version of the Cross Ministries Note can be found here. And the French decree n° 2021-76 here.

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