N95 masks are American made and certified by NIOSH, a department within the CDC. Every product comes with an authenticity number provided by the lab.
KN95 masks are made in China and certified by the Chinese.
Europe and other individual countries have their own standards of certification that equal these standards.
There are a lot of fakes offered out there, and they generally look and feel the same as the real deal. A Wall Street Journal article headlines, "Millions of Counterfeit Masks Flooded U.S. Customs Facilities Last Year" and goes on to say, "Agents seized nearly 13 million masks as well as other banned items in the year through September, more than half of them coming from China. China was the origin of 51% of the seizures, according to the report. The agency’s 10,000 officers carried them out at more than 300 points of entry."
What to do? A recent Newsweek article does a good job of summing it up:
How to Check:
Some say that the virus is just warming up, whereas many are leveraging this fact to mass-produce counterfeit masks that are falsely marketed as NIOSH-approved. Though fake masks can offer protection equivalent to or better than cloth masks, they are not durable nor do they offer the same protection as legit ones.
Luckily, these easy markers will keep you well-informed the next time you buy masks for you and your loved ones.
- The first thing to check is the NIOSH approval number on the mask or the packaging. Once you locate it, run it through the NIOSH database to check if it's legit.
- Did you come across something that wasn't spelled right? Then it is probably fake. Non-legit companies may also alter letters and numbers to align themselves with compliance regulations. Don't fall for them.
- As sad as it sounds, some companies use sensitive claims like masks that specifically offer protection to children. Naturally, worried families will buy them with their kids' wellbeing in mind. The truth is that NIOSH has not approved any masks or PPEs that explicitly offer protection for children!
- Since masks are now part of your attire, some people would prefer to wear something more fashionable. While stylish masks may be trending, however, those made with certain fabrics and add-ons like sequins might be fake. Any modifications to masks can actually void the NIOSH-approval and may no longer guarantee your safety. This means you shouldn't paint your masks or buy masks that are too flashy because chances are, they won't help filter particles effectively.
- Don't forget to examine the packaging. Usually, counterfeit masks lack standard packaging and user instruction. They can be slightly different from the manufacturer's guidelines and are often overlooked. Loosies can be convenient, but avoid buying masks that are sold loose without any proper packaging.
Don't immediately trust everything you can get your hands on. Don't waste your money and please don't purchase from criminal companies. Not reading labels will only provide a false sense of security.
Happyface masks are fun washable, reusable masks made in the USA. Every purchase of a Happyface comes with a complimentary pack of AIRVEIL filters, also made in the USA. The combination of the patented nanotechnology filter and a well-fitting washable mask will keep you safe from the virus, air pollution, and more. Stay smart and stay safe.
Check out more information about mask efficacy and microparticle protection at www.airveilfilters.com
- March 2021
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