a sneeze, “it’s a real firework” of “microdroplets”, explains the boss of Afnor


While wearing a mask has been mandatory since Monday, Olivier Peyrat, the director general of Afnor, guest of franceinfo, discusses the effectiveness of masks, the standards they must meet as well as the recommendations to make one yourself -even.

Since March, we have found all the practical advice on how to make masks on the Afnor website. Barrier protection which has become compulsory in enclosed public places from Monday, July 20. Olivier Peyrat, Director General of Afnor, recalled on franceinfo that a sneeze “was a real firework” of “microgouttelettes” hence the importance of “to cover the nose and the mouth”.

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franceinfo: What is an effective mask?

Olivier Peyrat: The first point is a collective protection tool. These are anti-projection masks. There are videos on the Internet. And if you see the 50 to 100,000 microdroplets that are emitted during a sneeze, it is a real firework display.

What fabric and what format to use if you want to make it yourself?

You type on your favorite search engine “Barrier Masks Afnor Spec S76-001”. You have access to a host of recommendations on how to do it yourself or ask a craftsman or possibly as part of an industrial protection. From the moment the document has been taken into account in the context of production, the regulations also provide for industrial supplies that there are a certain number of washes allowed by this model of masks. You can therefore trust the anti-projection effectiveness of this mask.

Is there a logo that certifies the standard?

You have a device that has been put in place by the State with a small tricolor logo which also indicates the number of washes. I believe that the announced government measure shows that we are part of a logic that is no longer an exceptional logic which is that of confinement. Containment represented an investment for the community. It is a question of preserving this investment, hence the measure which is already very widely observed. I often take public transport and the vast majority of passengers wear a barrier mask of this type. In steady state, the industrial sector experienced exceptional mobilization during the exceptional period. I salute the textile industry. But in a steady state, we have to prepare for the long term to have an item of the wardrobe called the barrier mask that you can choose from. It will comply with specifications which now even become European since our AFNOR specification published at the end of March has just been adopted at European level.

Will there be regular checks in the stores?

The permanent regime with certifications which will soon see the light of day is based on specifications in our Afnor Spec document. This also represents for industrial productions controls which are made from tests by laboratories which are competent. Naturally, these certifications will build on everything that was done during the confinement phase. We are not going to do twice what has been done and done well. But in a steady state, laboratories will check that the various masks that are produced industrially comply with these specifications. And incidentally, downstream, indeed, there may be levies which are made by the official fraud prevention services.

Will we always be able to use masks that we make ourselves and which, suddenly, do not go through this control system?

Personally, I have different types of masks, some made by artisans, some homemade, some industrially made and I will not hesitate to continue wearing them. They were made to good specifications, well done, using the right materials. After that, I would say that a good mask is very good, but you also have to wear it well, know how to remove it, not touch the front of the mask. It must be well covering. Sometimes I happen on public transport to see people wearing the mask only on their mouths. When you can sneeze, the projection can also occur through the nose and therefore you must also cover your nose and mouth.

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