In spring of 2021, the company started producing and selling fake masks, claiming to have developed a cult following and sold over one hundred thousand by summer. The company is infamously mentioned on far-right digital forums and even sponsored two articles on the conservative Christian version of The Onion called The Babylon Bee. The fake masks have become popular with fringe groups and have been banned by the FDA. This article explores the dangers of these masks and what consumers need to know to avoid buying a fake.
NIOSH-approved masks have an approval label on or within the packaging
NIOSH-approved respirators can be easily spotted. Look for an approval label on or within the packaging. These are easy to spot because they will contain the NIOSH logo, model and lot number, and other identifying information. If they do not contain these, the mask may be counterfeit. These fake respirators may also feature price fluctuations or misleading ads, including “unlimited stock” and “free shipping.”
Respiratory protection for children is not NIOSH-approved, but it can be difficult to identify because children grow much faster than adults. Therefore, testing products for children may be more difficult and take longer. As such, care should be taken when handling children under the age of 18.
N95 masks do not have ear loops
Many fake N95 masks look similar to the real thing, but they are actually different. Legitimate N95 masks do not feature ear loops, but do feature headbands or straps. They may also be covered in sequins and decorative fabric, and claim to be pediatric-safe. Buying a counterfeit N95 mask is a scam that can endanger your health. Luckily, the CDC has provided a useful guide for spotting a fake N95 mask and a list of fake ones.
There are pros and cons to each. Those who prefer ear loops may prefer this type of mask. These masks provide better seals and fit more securely than those without ear loops. However, ear loops can be uncomfortable to wear. N95s may also have more noise-resistant materials. Regardless of what you choose, you should know that N95 masks are not a good option for people with allergies, asthma, or heart problems.
KF94 masks provide greater protection against Covid-19 than cloth masks
A KF94 face mask is made in Korea, while a cloth mask is made in China. They are quality certified and provide better filtration than cloth masks. Cloth masks are not ideal for indoor use. Their filtration ability depends on how snug they fit. You can improve your filtration by knotting or tucking the ear loops or using a mask brace.
A KF94 mask is made of multiple layers of polypropylene, which make it a snug fit for the face and are designed to block 95% of all particulate matter. The Korean-made masks also have an N95 certification, which means they filter at least 95% of particles. They are also certified in China and South Korea. Ultimately, the best mask to wear for COVID protection is the one that is certified to protect you.
False masks can reduce airflow and exacerbate underlying health issues
Several studies have suggested that false respiratory protection may increase carbon dioxide levels and reduce oxygen saturation, resulting in increased fatigue and heart rate. A 2012 experiment found a significant increase in breathing rate and heart rate with the use of a false mask, and the results were statistically significant for nearly half of the participants. The researchers found a link between these changes and higher levels of carbon dioxide and higher blood pressure.
Researchers conducted this study using standardized questionnaires to collect data on whether the use of false respiratory protection reduces airflow. The researchers noted that the presence of moisture on the masks leads to increased risk of foreign and self-contamination by aerosols. Furthermore, wearing a mask increases the amount of fine particles emitted into the environment. A person wearing a false respiratory protection device may breathe in as many as 20,000 times more fine particles as someone without a mask.