The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning of low-quality medical masks invading America’s supply chain amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
First responders are discovering not all of their protective gear is doing what it’s supposed to, putting their lives at a greater risk.
“We now see counterfeit masks coming on the market and that’s because there’s not a coordinated response and coordinated oversight coming from the federal government,” said Professor Joseph Allen of the Harvard School of Public Health.
Signs That a Respirator May Be Counterfeit via CDC:
- No markings at all on the filtering facepiece respirator
- No approval (TC) number on filtering facepiece respirator or headband
- No NIOSH markings
- NIOSH spelled incorrectly
- Presence of decorative fabric or other decorative add-ons (e.g., sequins)
- Claims approval for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children)
- Filtering facepiece respirator has ear loops instead of headbands
Some reports show the gear is filtering less than 30% of particles, while according to the FDA, the ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) test particles.
According to the CDC, NIOSH-approved (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) respirators have an approval label on or within the packaging of the respirator (i.e. on the box itself and/or within the users’ instructions).
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