The KN95 mask with a respirator valve is designed to filter out at least 95% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size – the same measure used for the scarce NIOSH N95 mask. Like many NIOSH N95s with a respirator valve, the KN95 with respirator valve allows for easier breathing in and out. Like the NIOSH N95, it fits closely around the nose and mouth, creating a seal that decreases the risk of infection. And the Center for Disease Control has said it’s as effective as NIOSH N95, which is certified under US testing standards. But this second type of mask, called the KN95, complies with slightly different norms in China under GB2626-2006. An authentic KN95 from China will have GB2626-2006 imprinted on the outside of mask fabric.
According to 3M, the world’s largest mask manufacturer, the KN95 is “equivalent” and “can be expected to function very similarly” to the N95 mask. That opinion was echoed on February 29 by the CDC, which said the KN95 is one of the seven foreign-certified respirators “expected to provide protection to workers”