According to a recent article from (National Roofing Contractors Association), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says counterfeit respirators are being sold in the U.S. and the models, many of which were made in China, may not be capable of providing appropriate respiratory protection.

Recent federal government guidance cautions workers trying to protect themselves from hazards such as sand, silica dust or COVID-19 to carefully consider the source of their respiratory protection. 

NIOSH has posted a list of dozens of suspect brands on its website, as well as what to look for in approved face coverings.  NIOSH-approved respirators have an approval label on or within the packaging of the respirator and/or within the instructions containing one the following designations:  N95, N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99 or P100.  Signs that a respirator may be counterfeit include:

  • No markings;
  • NIOSH spelled incorrectly;
  • The presence of decorative fabric or other decorative add-ons, such as sequins;
  • Claims approved for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children); and
  • Ear loops instead of headbands.

Although approved for use in construction, recent studies show valved N95 masks are not suitable for COVID-19 mitigation as they can decrease the protection of those surrounding the wearer.  Contractors should be careful where masks are bought.  

To review the list of counterfeit respirators and signs from NIOSH that a respirator may be counterfeit, please visit Respirators/Misrepresentation of NIOSH-Approval

To read this article from NRCA in its entirety, please visit Warns About Counterfeit Respirators.

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