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ASTM International (ASTM)

"Standard Test Method for Evaluating the Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) of Medical Face Mask Materials, Using a Biological Aerosol of Staphylococcus aureus"


This test method is used to measure the bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of medical face mask materials, employing a ratio of the upstream bacterial challenge to downstream residual concentration to determine filtration efficiency of medical face mask materials.

Standard Type(s)
Test Method

A definitive procedure that produces a test result: Examples of test methods include, but are not limited to: identification, measurement, and evaluation of one or more qualities, characteristics, or properties. A precision and bias statement shall be reported at the end of a test method.

Personal Protective Equipment
Eye and Face Protection

All equipment and/or accessories (whether or not detachable) designed and manufactured specifically to protect the eyes and/or the entire face (not including the top of the head). Exposure to the eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids, or caustic liquids, chemical gasses, or vapors, potentially infected material or potentially harmful light radiation.

  • Face masks
  • Biological
SOC Codes
29-0000 Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations
  • 29-1000 Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners
    • 29-1060 Physicians and Surgeons
    • 29-1141 Registered Nurses
Standard References
Referenced Standard

ASTM F1414 - 19(2023) - Standard test method for measurement of cut resistance to chain saw in lower body (legs) protective clothing

Conformity Assessment Notes

This test method offers a procedure for evaluation of medical face mask materials for bacterial filtration efficiency. This test method does not define acceptable levels of bacterial filtration efficiency. Therefore, when using this test method it is necessary to describe the specific condition under which testing is conducted.  Please see the full standard for complete details.


Additional References:

ASTM Standards

  • E171 Practice for Conditioning and Testing Flexible Barrier Packaging
  • E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods
  • E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method
  • F1494 Terminology Relating to Protective Clothing

ANSI/ASQC Standard

  • ANSI/ASQC Z1.4 Sampling Procedures and Tables for Inspection by Attributes

ISO Standard

  • ISO 2859-1 Sampling Plans for Inspection by Attributes

Military Standard

  • MIL-STD 36954C (1973) Military Specification: Mask, Surgical, Disposable
Testing Laboratories

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