Face masks are big business these days and fly-by-night manufacturers are certainly taking advantage of the pandemic. Since the start of the year and as the new administration is slowly gearing up to open up the economy, over 20 million counterfeit N95 respirators have been seized by federal authorities across the U.S with more arrests expected in the coming months.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which has partnered with other federal authorities, had earlier warned the public of purchasing fake personal protective equipment (PPE) including N95 and KN95 respirators from unknown vendors and brokers within the supply chain. Most of the counterfeit KN95 respirators are said to have originated from China where the same type of face mask is the gold standard.
In another case, authorities had discovered over 460,000 counterfeit N95 respirators in Seattle that are falsely labeled with the American 3M brand and translating to a manufacturer’s recommended retail price of around $587,000. Due to the N95 shortage in the country for healthcare workers, prices for these counterfeit masks and other PPEs can even go higher than the usual manufacturer rates according to investigators.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official John Leonard earlier stated there is currently an exponential increase in fake N95 and KN95 respirator seizures this 2021 from the 14 million units seized since the start of the pandemic last year.
To address the current problem, the Biden Administration immediately invoked the Defense Production Act to encourage American manufacturers to step up the production of N95 and KN95 respirators that can cater to both healthcare and public use.
The federal government has also encouraged both medical and public entities to secure American-made N95 respirators certified by the National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) or Food and Drug Authority (FDA)-approved KN95 respirators when they can. The move is intended to address the increasing numbers of new cases brought about by the spread of new COVID-19 variants across the country.
Know how you can purchase American-made, FDA-approved and ICS laboratory-certified KN95 respirators from The USA Mask Company here.