As more and more types of respirators are hitting the market to meet increased demand, counterfeit respirators are becoming a concerning issue. False marketing and deceitful labeling may entice customers to try a new brand that may not actually be providing appropriate protection. One major misrepresentation these respirators have is false NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approval. Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a website dedicated to alerting users, purchasers, and manufacturers about such counterfeit masks.
According to the CDC, these are some signs that a respirator may be counterfeit:
- 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 for the of approval for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children)
- Filtering facepiece respirator has ear loops instead of headbands
These are some signs that a respirator is NIOSH- approved:
- NIOSH-approved respirators have an approval label on or within the packaging of the respirator
- An abbreviated approval is on the FFR itself
- You can verify the approval number on the NIOSH Certified Equipment List (CEL) or the NIOSH Trusted-Source page
- NIOSH-approved FFRs will always have one of the following designations: N95, N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99, P100
Visit the CDC’s website about Counterfeit Respirators/Misrepresentation of NIOSH-Approval for pictures and descriptions of products and manufacturers that are falsely claiming to have NIOSH approval.
Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, mask up (with an approved mask!), and stay tuned!