As if the pandemic is not bad enough, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is investigating a scam involving fake N95 masks.
Effective masks are one of the principle ways to combat the coronavirus and prevent its spread. While important for the population at large, masks are especially vital for front-line health workers who are exposed to the virus on a daily basis. N95 masks are particularly important to health workers, as they provide a higher level of protection than a basic face mask.
Unfortunately, companies are selling counterfeit N95 masks to hospitals and frontline workers. The counterfeits, purporting to be 3M masks, are becoming more difficult to detect, putting health and frontline workers at risk.
“They’re not coming from authorized distributors,” said Kevin Rhodes, 3M’s vice president and deputy general counsel, according to the Associated Press. “They’re coming from companies really just coming into existence.”
“These products are not tested to see if they make the N95 standards,” Rhodes added “They’re not interested in testing them. They’re interested in making as many as they can as cheaply as possible.”
To help combat the counterfeits, 3M has published guidelines to help individuals and companies identify fakes.