What do the ASTM Levels mean on Surgical Mask packaging?

What do the ASTM Levels mean on Surgical Mask packaging?

Anyone who regularly uses disposable masks might notice that the outside packaging lists an ASTM Level rating. And you might be wondering, is this even important? The short answer is yes, absolutely.

ASTM Certification is given to products like face masks to determine the level of filtration effectiveness. Masks undergo extensive testing by a trusted third-party laboratory, and assigned one of three ratings:

Level 1 - Unable to filter out microscopic particulate matter (such as viruses), NOT rated for medical use. Level 1 masks are unregulated by agencies like the FDA.
Level 2 - Able to filter out particulate matter of microscopic viruses such as the novel coronavirus. Level 2 masks must be FDA listed to gain approval for medical use. Product CANNOT be called “surgical” without it.
Level 3 - Meets all the requirements necessary for Level 2 certification. Additionally, Level 3 rated masks must pass synthetic blood and fluid penetration testing. Level 3 rated masks must also be FDA-listed for medical use.