Are you looking to get an N95 mask? Here’s how you can spot the counterfeit ones
With COVID-19 cases surging over the past couple of weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released updated guidance on what masks we should be wearing.
Learn more about what masks the CDC and health care providers recommend below from Dr. Daniel Griffin:
Unfortunately, because of high demand, some masks may not be legitimate or officially meet international standards. The CDC estimates that 60% of KN95 masks, the most widely available respirators that meet an international standard, sold in the U.S. are fake.
The CDC recommends that people be cautious of products that are listed as “legitimate” or “genuine,” if there are price swings and to look at reviews when buying masks from a third-party market or unfamiliar website. Other precautions include website errors, such as typos and broken links, and if the masks are advertised to have “unlimited stock.”
If you’re in the market for an N95 or KN95 mask, the CDC said some other indicators that it’s a counterfeit include:
1. No markings at all on the filtering facepiece respirator.
2. No approval (TC) number on filtering facepiece respirator or headband.
Example of the correct exterior markings on a NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirator
3. No NIOSH markings - NIOSH stands for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
4. NIOSH spelled incorrectly.
5. Presence of decorative fabric or other decorative add-ons (e.g., sequins).
6. Claims of approval for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children).
7. Filtering facepiece respirator has ear loops instead of headbands.
You can also check the CDC website HERE for a list of NIOSH-approved N95 face masks.
If you find certain N95s difficult to wear for long periods, experts suggest exploring the different shapes and styles available to see what works best for you.