How to Spot a Counterfeit Respirator
How to Identify a NIOSH-approved RespiratorOnly filter facepiece respirators (FFRs) approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have been tested and proven to operate effectively during correct usage. NIOSH-approved respirators will always have one the following designations: N95, N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99, or P100.
NIOSH-approved FFRs have an approval label on or within the packaging. Therefore, the approval label may be on the respirator box itself or in the instruction manual. An abbreviated approval is also on the respirator itself.
You can verify the approval number on the NIOSH Certified Equipment List (CEL) or the NIOSH Trusted-Source web page to determine if the respirator has been approved by NIOSH.
Tips for Spotting a Fake NIOSH RespiratorThe CDC has issued many quick tips to help buyers understand how to identify a counterfeit FFR before making a purchase. Here are a few:
- No markings or approval number on the FFR or headband
- No NIOSH markings
- NIOSH spelled incorrectly
- Presence of decorative fabric or other add-ons (e.g., sequins, glitter)
- Claims of approval for children (no FFRs are approved for use on children)
- FFR has ear loops instead of headbands
What to Look for When Shopping OnlineWhen searching online for a new FFR supplier, there are a couple of ways to spot a sketchy website:
- Is the primary contact e-mail address connected to the website or is it a free e-mail account? Using a free e-mail service may suggest the seller is not committed to the domain.
- Look for bad grammar, typos, and other errors
- Mixing up names/logos
- Leaving the site partially unfinished with dummy text
- Blank pages
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