Monday, May 11, 2020

Counterfeit N-95 Masks Begin to Enter Market - Buyer Beware


On Friday of last week, the New York Times published an article about the sudden influx of counterfeit N-95 masks entering the U.S. supply chain from our friends in China.

For those of you not well versed in mask terminology, at true U.S. certified respirator (even though it *looks* like a mask) has a snug fit and is referred to as an N-95.  Other countries have similar standards, but their names for the devices vary, adding to the confusion.  The China equivalent of the U.S. N-95 is called a KN-95.

Due to the global pandemic and the shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that it created, the U.S. relaxed testing standards and was allowing KN-95 masks to enter the U.S. supply chain without testing.

About 3 weeks ago, some tests were performed and massive amounts of failures were noted.  This lead to the U.S. banning 65 of the previously approved 80 Chinese manufacturers.  Unfortunately because, for some unknown reason, the failures were not reported for about 3 weeks, that meant that these inadequate masks entered the U.S. supply chain and were put into circulation for healthcare workers on the front lines.  Basically that means that doctors & nurses were gearing up in these masks to go into rooms with patients known to have Covid-19, thinking they were wearing the best PPE they could get.

Why it took 3 weeks for the U.S. government to take action remains a mystery.

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