VOC emissions from particle filtering half masks – methods, risks and need for further action

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Saskia Kerkeling
Christian Sandten
Thomas Schupp
Martin Kreyenschmidt


Investigations into volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from polymer fleeces used in particle filtering half masks were conducted and evaluated against the German hygienic guide value for total volatile organic compounds and the “Lowest Concentration of Interest” for construction products. All masks showed emission of Xylene. In 94 % of samples, up to 24 additional aromatic compounds were found. 17 % of samples showed terpenes, 53 % emitted aldehydes, 77 % exhibited caprolactam and 98 % released siloxanes. All masks exceeded the TVOC hygienic guidance value level 5 of 10 mg/m³. Emission levels were investigated for masks immediately after their packages were opened and for masks that were “vented” for two weeks. Further, the emissions were repeatedly measured to investigate the decrease of emissions. An exponential decline was observed and a fitting function was calculated. The influence of the two commonly gas chromatograph (GC) hyphenated detectors, mass spectrometer (MS) and flame ionization detector (FID) on the VOC quantification, as well as the influence of temperature on the emission of VOCs were investigated. A statistical analysis of emission value differences for Notified Bodies was conducted and CE 2163 and 2020-1XG proved to be outliers.

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How to Cite
Kerkeling, S., Sandten, C., Schupp, T. ., & Kreyenschmidt, M. (2021). VOC emissions from particle filtering half masks – methods, risks and need for further action. EXCLI Journal, 20, 995-1008. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2021-3734
Original articles