How to spot fake N95 and KN95 masks online
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The omicron variant of the coronavirus now accounts for 98.3% of new COVID-19 cases in the United States, and because of this rapid spread, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to issue new mask guidelines soon.
Due to the highly contagious nature of the variant, better quality masks with a tighter fit than fabric or surgical options may be appropriate, such as the popular KN95 and N95, which claim to filter out at least 95% of the particles in suspension in the air.
NBC News correspondent Tom Costello warned viewers today Wednesday morning that it’s important to “do your homework” and make sure you know what you’re really buying.
According to the CDC, around 60% of masks labeled KN95, the Chinese version of high-filtration masks, are in fact counterfeit.
The organization shared the following tips to keep in mind when considering purchasing international respirators: “… Stricter evaluation measures should be considered to determine whether a product meets standards. This should include validation that the product you intend to purchase has been tested by an ISO / IEC 17025 accredited testing laboratory in the country that holds the standard. “
So how do you avoid getting caught?
Costello recommended looking for N95 masks.
The reason to consider using these USA made masks is that there is a way to guarantee what you get.
“So when you buy an N95 … look for the stamp that says ‘NIOSH’,” Costello advised.
NIOSH stands for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and it is the federal certifying entity for a variety of masks and respirators, including the N95.
However, if you spot the NIOSH approval on a KN95 goggle, that’s a red flag.
“(The) CDC, through NIOSH, does not endorse KN95 masks or any other respirator certified to meet international standards,” according to a CDC notice on counterfeits.
Related: How to spot – and avoid – false COVID-19 tests
Is there an easy way to find authentic masks?
Costello recommended ProjectN95.org, a website that has links to certified and vetted masks.
“You have to do your homework to make sure you get something that is verified and certified,” he stressed.
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