How U.S. Border Patrol seized $163k in fake N95 masks in Boston

The N95 mask storage has lead many with evil plans to create counterfeit N95 mask supply to send to healthcare workers in the United States. As it is said, “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Seeing that many frontline workers in the USA cannot even buy a decent surgical or medical use face mask online at wholesale prices, counterfeit N95 mask supplies have arrived in U.S. shores by the bulk.

There are many uses for the N95 mask and it is one of the most sought-after PPE in the world today. With countries even fighting to get their hands on N95 masks and N95 respirators, it should come as no surprise that counterfeit N95 mask supply would eventually appear.

The best type of antiviral PPE for virus protection to date is the single-use disposable face mask called the N95 mask. This type of face mask is known to offer protection of up to 95 percent. It has the capacity to filter air particulates even those in dust and smoke. For all its uses, the N95 mask is deemed safe for adults and kids to use and comes in every size that best fits the wearer.

To combat the flu causing virus, it is important to buy a face mask such as 3M N95 masks. The most popular ones being the 3M 1860, 3M 8210, and 3M 8511. The China counterpart of the N95 mask, which is KN95 masks are also gaining popularity, and being accepted in the U.S. Face shields, too, is becoming essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Counterfeit N95 Masks Enter U.S. Shores

This September 2020, N95 mask counterfeits have been seized in Boston, USA. There were more than 20,000 N95 mask counterfeits confiscated. The N95 mask counterfeits were trying to be passed through the Boston port facility when Customs and Border Protection officials decided to make an N95 mask check.

It is good that the country is keen on checking the N95 mask supply coming into the country as there could be bigger problems when faulty N95 mask supplies are used by the healthcare workforce in the country.

The value of the N95 mask counterfeits has been said to reach $163,200 in total. The N95 mask counterfeits were mixed in with textiles and shoes. Apparently, the N95 mask counterfeit supplier was really planning to smuggle the N95 mask supply in the country though it was defective.

Frontliners and the Public at Risk

With N95 mask counterfeits in the country, the people could risk their health. There is no filter efficiency in N95 mask counterfeits. If any, the very least.

It is a good thing then that CBP officials have been trained to identify N95 mask counterfeits. They have intercepted the entrance of the N95 mask counterfeits which are marked as dangerous goods that can do harm to American health frontline workers and the general public.

Where did the fake N95 mask come from?

The N95 mask counterfeits were supposedly coming from Hong Kong shipment. There were forty-three boxes of N95 mask counterfeits found.

To date, the CBP continues to examine N95 mask supplies coming in the country. They are the ones responsible for the approval of imports and exports. They also confiscate evidence of N95 mask counterfeits for suing for criminal activity.

NIOSH Certification, Critical

In the United States, the main N95 mask supplier is 3M. The Defense Production Act already sought to expedite the N95 mask domestic production. However, the N95 mask manufacturer continues to export N95 mask production and supply other countries with their essential N95 mask and other PPE needs, too.

As such, it is important to take note of the NIOSH approval when shopping in the market for the N95 mask supply. It is also good to check the NIOSH website before buying an N95 mask online. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection website posts alerts or warnings on their website of counterfeit N95 masks and respirators. Hence, purchasers, manufacturers, and N95 mask users will become aware of.

Identifying NIOSH-approved N95 Mask

It is vital to check the packaging of the N95 mask box or the user manual. There should be an abbreviated approval on the N95 mask. The NIOSH Certified Equipment List (CEL) is also a good website to check or verify the approval number of the N95 mask.

Signs of Fake N95 Mask

There are ways to detect a fake N95 mask, should there already be fake N95 mask supply having been sneaked into the country. These are the ways you would be able to tell a counterfeit from a true N95 mask:

  • No approval number or TC on the filtering facepiece respirator
  • There are no NIOSH markings
  • Incorrect spelling of NIOSH
  • Zero markings on the N95 mask
  • Decorative fabric or add-on sequins on N95 mask
  • Earloops only, no headbands
  • Claims NIOSH-approved for children (no such thing)

Take note of the last sign of the N95 mask counterfeit. Kids are meant to stay at home, as well as senior adults. This is because they are more prone to catching novel coronavirus. Whenever possible, only wear an N95 mask if you are a healthcare worker.

Otherwise, a reusable face mask or cloth face mask will do. Apparently, the N95 mask shortage has lead to prioritization issues. While the general public has access to N95 mask supplies, hospital workers, doctors, nurses, and small clinic practitioners, and their staff have been reusing single-use disposable face masks even though the efficiency is next to nothing by that point.

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