Patients with diabetes must protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus as it can increase death risk for those with diabetes. Knowing how to detect a fake N95 mask is essential.
Counterfeit N95 face masks have increased. According to the CDC, there is no guarantee they provide the same protection as masks approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the United States agency that regulates filtering facepiece respirators. But recognizing phony N95s can be easy using a few simple steps.
- Authentic N95 masks have an approval number preceded by the letters TC and a labeled model number, and possibly a lot number.
- Reliable masks have information about the filter class (as designated by the letters N, P, or R) and the filter efficiency (as indicated by the numbers 95, 99, or 100). An N95 mask has N for the filter class and 95 for the filter efficiency, meaning it can filter 95% or more of individual-sized particles.
- Good masks also feature the NIOSH logo or the agency’s name in block letters and the brand name, registered trademark, or abbreviated name of the business holding the mask’s approval. It will also have headbands, not ear loops, to secure the mask to the user’s face.
- A clear sign of a counterfeit mask is the presence of an FDA logo or mention of a Food and Drug Administration approval or registration: the FDA does not regulate face masks, only NIOSH does. And NIOSH disapproves face masks for children — so if there is any mention of child safety, that’s another sign of a bogus mask. You can search the brand name on the CDC’s index to ensure that NIOSH has approved; in some cases, brands may misrepresent NIOSH approval.