ASTM Approves New Face Covering Standard

Global standards organization ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials, has approved a new standard for barrier face coverings to help establish minimum design, performance, labeling and care requirements for reusable barrier face coverings. The standard was developed by ASTM’s committee on personal protective clothing and equipment.

The new standard (F3502) is intended to apply to the general public and workers, and includes specific requirements for barrier face coverings including design and general construction criteria, particle filtration efficiency levels, sizing and fit testing criteria, labeling instructions, and guidance on cleaning and recommended periods of use.

“Members of the committee worked together to reach a consensus and address the gap that exists for barrier face coverings that are neither a respirator nor a surgical mask,” says Kathie Morgan, ASTM International president. “The standard helps to benchmark products and will inform consumers when selecting face coverings for their intended use.”

Numerous ASTM PPE standards have been recognized internationally by the World Health Organization and in the U.S. by health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The barrier face covering standard is available at www.astm.org/COVID-19 along with 28 other COVID-related standards. ASTM International has made a commitment to provide no-cost public access to important ASTM standards used in the production and testing of personal protective equipment to combat the coronavirus public health emergency.

ASTM International also released a technical white paper, “Collaboration to Advance Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Safety, Quality, and Innovation.” This paper identifies the current landscape of standards the development for PPE, including a summary of a recent workshop on fast-tracking standards development, and challenges facing PPE standards development, quality and availability.

Additionally, the white paper outlines the need for new and modified standards across infection control PPE that seek to address high-priority gaps that ASTM and other standards developing organizations can pursue. It also introduces a new global collaboration platform on PPE aimed at addressing challenges facing PPE and accelerating standards development. The global collaboration platform is envisioned to bring together global PPE stakeholders to bolster communication and outreach, partnership formation, innovation and more. ASTM International will host an introductory webinar on the global platform on March 16, 2021 at 1 pm ET.

“With over 100 existing cooperation agreements with standards bodies across the world, ASTM International is positioned to exchange knowledge, promote technical alignment, and advance PPE manufacturing and innovation as we face COVID and public health challenges of the future,” adds Morgan.

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