MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Low-quality medical masks are being introduced into America’s supply chain, and some are making their way to our front-line workers who have direct contact with COVID patients every day, putting their lives at risk. Some of the masks they’re relying on that are supposed to filter out 95-percent of small airborne particles aren’t doing that. In some cases, testing shows the counterfeit masks are filtering less than 30-percent.
N-95 masks are necessary to protect healthcare and emergency workers. They’re strictly regulated by the U.S. Government, but there aren’t enough of them, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of counterfeit masks coming from China.
Signs that a respirator may be counterfeit include earloops for attachment rather than bands that stretch across the back of the head for a tighter fit, no markings on the filtering facepiece respirator, presence of decorative fabric or other decorative add-ons, claims the mask is approved for children, and NIOSH may be spelled incorrectly.
Authentic National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved disposable respirators are marked with the manufacturer’s name, the part number, the protection provided by the filter, and NIOSH.
There’s no way of knowing how many low-grade masks have already made their way to the United States, but Chinese government officials say they’re cracking down, and have already seized around 89-million of them. But global trade investigators say counterfeit goods continue to pour in, and it’s not just masks but also mislabeled medicines, and fake COVID-19 tests and cures.