How To Tell If Your N95 Mask Is Fake
Fake N95 masks (also known as a respirator mask) are products that are falsely marketed and sold as being National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health [NIOSH]-approved and may not be capable of providing appropriate respiratory protection to workers. N95 masks create a seal that filters 95% of airborne particles when properly fitted. With so many fake N95 masks on the market, inadvertently using them could give healthcare workers and the public a false sense of security.
When NIOSH becomes aware of counterfeit respirators or those misrepresenting NIOSH approval on the market, the CDC posts them to alert users, purchasers, and manufacturers. What if you’ve already bought mask online and don’t know if it’s going to work as it’s supposed to? NIOSH-approved masks have an approval label on or within the mask packaging — either on the box or in the users’ instructions.
Signs that a respirator may be counterfeit:
- No markings at all on the filtering facepiece respirator
- No approval (TC) number on filtering facepiece respirator or headband
- No NIOSH markings
- Presence of decorative fabric or other decorative add-ons
- Claims for the approval for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children)
- Filtering facepiece respirator has ear loops instead of headbands
Check the respirator approval markings using the example of correct exterior markings on a NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirator graphic. You can also search the brand name on the CDC’s website to make sure that it is approved by NIOSH.
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Criminal organizations are trying to sell counterfeit pharmaceuticals, other PPE and medical devices to unsuspecting American consumers. Covid-19 has been a fertile time for other scams of all kinds to proliferate. You can report any counterfeit masks to CBP through their website. More than 11 million counterfeit N95 masks have been seized by the Department of Homeland Security this year.
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