22 December 2020

Kiwa is certifying public face masks for quality label according to NEN-spec 1-2

Upon request of several market parties and stakeholders NEN initiated the realisation of a certification scheme for public face masks. This in response to the obligation to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces in The Netherlands as from 1 December, 2020. The legal obligation results in a great demand, but also causes much uncertainty regarding the quality of the face masks. As the only certifying institute in the committee of experts, Kiwa was actively involved in the development of the certification scheme.

Necessary new norm

The new NEN label specifically does not concern the medical face masks, where international quality standards already have been established for, but the public face masks that had no certification so far. The result of this situation is an abundance of face masks from all over the world, in all kinds of colours and materials. Consumers have no clear understanding of the quality aspects and therefore have no idea what to look for when purchasing face masks. The new norm enables them to distinguish good quality ad an instance.

Uniform quality control

Part of the quality checks are a uniform way to test the breathing resistance, wearing comfort and flammability, but also the evaluation of bacterial filter efficiency and chemicals reports.

Assuring good quality

Kiwa contributed a great deal to the establishment of the certification scheme for public facemasks. Thanks to the broad expertise in the committee that we took part of, a workable scheme could be developed and published. Leendert van der Marel (Kiwa) says: “Due to our experience in the development of certification schemes, but also our knowledge from the certification of the medical face masks, we were able to make a valuable contribution to workable procedures and relevant requirements. For instance, it’s vital that every certifying body should be able to take samples by itself. But also that you’re able to visit the production facility anywhere in the world. Through the worldwide network of Kiwa-offices, this can easily be handled in any producing region. With this certification we can offer certainty to consumers that face masks with the NEN-label meet all the requirements!”

Wearing comfort and functionality

The committee also examined the requirements for public facemasks issued in other countries. To function properly, the masks should cover nose and mouth and fit comfortably as poor fitting causes the user to touch the face mask repeatedly with his hands. This in turn causes contamination. Masks that have the NEN label offer users as well as producers and corporate buyers the certainty that they meet all necessary requirements.

Apply for certification

Manufacturers, importers, retailers and buyers who want to offer distinctive quality can apply for certification by Kiwa as of 15 December, 2020. You can contact us at +31 (0)88-9983257 or kindly fill out the contact form. Read more information on the product page Certification quality label public face masks NEN-spec 1-2.