N95 masks are playing an important role in this covid situation because they are approved by the U.S. for being efficient to block any type of airborne particles and droplets and filter out at least 95% of very tiny particles. They are usually worn, for example, by medical personnel as well as staff at factories that deal with paint or industrial chemicals.
By contrast, surgical masks and simpler fabric masks are primarily designed to avoid the wearer from transmitting germs and are easier to put on and wear. Surgical masks do not establish a seal as strong as N95 masks on the face.
Who makes N95 masks?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the key U.S. N95 mask regulator, has accredited many businesses to manufacture them domestically and abroad, including industry leaders such as 3M Co. and Honeywell International Inc. These are two major companies who manufacture N95 masks and both of them are approved by NIOSH. The masks manufactured by these companies abide by all the regulations of CDC and NIOSH and therefore, these are considered as the most effective masks to combat COVID-19. Medical professionals and other frontline workers are recommended to use these masks because of the rate of exposure they get to Coronavirus.
The 3M Company is an American multinational corporation that works in the fields of industry, worker protection, US health care, and consumer goods. 3M invented and approved the N95 respirator mask in 1972. Its use was suggested during the COVID-19 pandemic to be able to filter viral particles, but the supply soon became short. Prior to the outbreak, most of the company's stock had already been sold.
The shortages led to 3 M being asked by the U.S. government to stop selling U.S.-made N95 respirator masks to Canada and Latin American nations, and President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Procurement Act to compel 3M to prioritize federal government orders. When 3M decided to import more respirators, mainly from its factories in China, the conflict was resolved.
3 M will then enter into a $70MCAD agreement with Canada's federal government and the provincial government of Ontario to manufacture N95 masks at their Brockville, Ontario factory.
Honeywell International Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate based in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is publicly traded. It operates primarily in four business areas: Aerospace, Construction Technology, Safety & Productivity Solutions, and Materials & Technology for Performance.
Honeywell is one of the Fortune 100 companies. The organization has a global workforce of about 110,000 employees, with about 44,000 workings in the United States. Darius Adamczyk is the current chairman and chief executive officer (CEO).
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of its manufacturing facilities in Rhode Island, Arizona, Michigan, and Germany were converted by Honeywell to manufacture personal protective equipment supplies for healthcare employees. Honeywell started manufacturing N95 masks in April 2020 at the company's Smithfield and Phoenix factories, planning to manufacture 20 million masks a month.
In Muskegon and Germany, Honeywell's facilities were converted to manufacture hand sanitizers for government agencies.
During the pandemic, many state governments contracted Honeywell to generate N95 particulate-filtering face masks. Honeywell was given a contract for the monthly supply of 100,000 N95 masks by the North Carolina Task Force for Emergency Repurposing of Manufacturing. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an agreement with Honeywell in April 2020 to manufacture 24 million N95 masks for delivery to healthcare staff and first responders.
On May 5, President Donald Trump of the United States visited the Honeywell Aerospace facility in Phoenix, where he recognized Honeywell's "incredibly patriotic and hard-working men and women" for producing N95 masks and referred to the production of the business as a "miraculous achievement."
Deficiency of Enough N95 Masks
The demand for N95 masks greatly outstrips existing stocks.
Mask makers have been rising production in the U.S. and around the world, but demand remains much higher so far. U.S. officials want N95 masks available to be used by front-line personnel battling the pandemic and also recommend the general public to wear cloth masks.
For the Increase of Production
Because of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, industrial giants Honeywell and 3 M are expected to increase the production of respiratory safety products worldwide as demand increases.
3M, which manufactures face masks to cover individuals' noses and ears, said its Chinese factory, amid the spread of the deadly virus, is completely operational.
CNBC has declared that the company is planning to increase the production of masks as it fails to cope up with the demand in China and other places in Asia, and in Europe and the United States.
Details of the facilities which would increase the production of these masks were not disclosed by Honeywell.
The Honeywell spokesperson reported that they are seeing a rise in demand for their protective face masks in North America, Europe, and China, FOX Business said.
How do I determine the authenticity of N95 masks?
On Niosh 's website, licensed N95 masks are listed. On their filter content, such masks should have NIOSH approval marks and the ‘lot number’ printed. Authentic N95 masks have elastic bands, rather than loops attached to the ears, that get stretched behind the head.
Usually, hospital staff undergo a 20-minute "fit examination" before they begin using a new form of a mask. To see if their mask suits correctly, staff may also do a shorter regular seal search. NIOSH has a webpage where officials share images they find of fake masks.