The N95 mask is a type of personal protective equipment that has been widely used in the medical, mining, and industry field. N95 masks or N95 respirators are designed to filter at least 95% airborne particles. The N95 mask is considered a disposable face mask but in recent times where the supply is very low and the demand is high, healthcare and medical frontline workers are forced to reuse the N95 mask.
The N95 mask is a protective device that is approved, tested, and regulated by the USA National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The agency also has a list of approved N95 mask manufacturers that are allowed to make and distribute N95 respirators in the United States.
One of the NIOSH-approved brands is 3M. 3M has been manufacturing N95 masks for a long time and has been trusted by various industries. The brand is making different types of 3M N95 masks or respirators for surgical, medical, and non-medical use. Some of the N95 mask models they are selling include 3M N95 mask 1860, 3M 8511, and 3M 8210.
Supply and demand for N95 mask
Before the coronavirus, there was a steady supply and demand of the N95 mask in the US and in the different parts of the world. There are several brands selling the N95 mask online and you can easily buy in bulk or wholesale. Buying an N95 mask for sale was used to be easy and you don't have to worry if it is fake or not.
Now, there has been a huge demand for the N95 mask because of the coronavirus pandemic. It has been affecting not only Americans but everyone around the globe. The N95 mask is considered as the best face mask to give protection against the virus. It is sold in a bigger size and not ideal for kids but it has been effective in filtering dust, smoke particles, and other contaminants.
Because of the low supply and high demand, there have been guidelines on how to reuse the N95 mask, up to a certain number. There are decontamination process and other alternatives to address the low supply of the N95 mask. For virus protection, the public is encouraged to use reusable cloth masks or use the KN95 masks instead.
Where are the counterfeit N95 masks made?
One of the biggest problems that NIOSH and NIOSH-approved manufacturers have to face is the increasing number of counterfeited N95 masks or respirators. Some N95 mask manufacturers are taking advantage of the situation and have produced counterfeit N95 masks. Some ordinary people don’t know how to determine a genuine N95 mask. Thus, some of them are victims of buying the counterfeit N95 mask online.
The counterfeited N95 mask and respirators are mostly made from China. The N95 mask looks like the NIOSH-approved mask but it also has a few differences. Since the fake N95 mask is not approved by NIOSH, the protection they give to the wearer is not guaranteed.
The counterfeit N95 mask from China was widely sold online, especially in Amazon. But when it was detected, Amazon, authorized N95 mask manufacturers, and US authorities made a strong move to stop it. Their actions have been successful. Lawsuits were filed against the sellers and manufacturers of the counterfeit N95 mask. Thousands of online websites and sellers were shut down too.
Now, there are still some N95 mask manufacturers and sellers that are selling counterfeit N95 masks online. But people are becoming knowledgeable now on how to detect a counterfeit N95 mask. In buying an N95 mask online, people should be vigilant and should look for the N95 mask NIOSH approval marking.
How to determine a counterfeit N9 mask?
So, how do you identify a NIOSH-approved N95 mask?
A NIOSH-approved N95 mask has an approval label on the N95 mask itself or in the packaging. You can easily verify the approval number on the NIOSH Trusted-Source page or on the NIOSH Certified Equipment List (CEL). Aside from the specific N95 mask, NIOSH also approved different types of respirators including the N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99, and P100 respirators.
Here are a few things that could help you determine if the N95 mask is a counterfeit:
- There are no N95 mask markings
- The N95 mask has no NIOSH markings
- The absence of the approval number on the headband of the N95 mask
- NIOSH is spelled incorrectly
- Presence of decorative add-ons such as decorative fabrics and sequins on the N95 mask
- Falsely claim that the N95 mask is suitable for children
- The N95 mask uses ear loops instead of headbands