How To Identify If A NIOSH N95 Mask Or Respirator Is Original Or Not?


Identify Original/Real NIOSH N95 Mask Or Respirator: The N95 Mask or Respirator has become a trendy commodity as WHO itself recommends this to deal with the deadly COVID-19 virus. However, because of the huge demand, even the frontline healthcare providers (HCPs) are facing a shortage of PPE Kits and especially N95 masks/respirators.

As per the Washington Post-Ipsos poll, 66% HCPs report that N95 respirators are still in short supply. Due to less supply and a huge demand, the fake N95 mask/respirators are selling across the market. Those are even no good enough to filter the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2). Although look wise they are so similar that the untutored eye can’t easily distinguish between the fake and real one.

So the question arises is, how could you identify if the NIOSH N95 Mask or Respirator is original/real or not? But don’t worry guys, today we tell you some ways from which you can get the difference between the same.

Why Original N95 Mask or Respirator Is So Important To Fight COVID-19 Virus?

Mostly, the masks or respirators are designed to protect our lungs against harmful PM2.5 sized pollutants. Meanwhile, the respirators are so efficient that they even filter out particles as low as of size 0.3 micron.

These are designed from special fabrics that can filter the air efficiently. After the COVID-19 outbreak, one particular type of respirator that is NIOSH approved N95 gets attains a great status. This is because WHO recommends this to fight with the pandemic.

How To Know My N95 Mask is Real or Not?

As we said before, sadly there’s a huge rise in counterfeit and fake masks being sold in the Indian market. A respirator with N95 written beside is not enough to certify its validity. These fake masks are made with cheap fabric and duplicate parts.

However, to tackle this problem now manufacturers of original respirators have started printing the relevant details on N95 mask packs to authenticate their products. And here’s the way that how can you identify the real one with the use of details mentioned in the Masks/Respirators itself.

Actually, the NIOSH website has a list of certified license holders to manufacture the N95 mask. So that you can easily identify the respirator with its unique TC number. Always remember, genuine N95 respirators should have all the below details and markings.

First Step – Firstly, search for ‘NIOSH TC Number Check’ on Google and open the CDC website for checking masks’ validity.

Second Step – Look at the TC number on the N95 mask and write it on the search box and then click ‘View Results’ to proceed.

Third Step – Now if the mask is real and the TC number is correct, the result displays the manufacturer’s name. In case, the TC number is not valid then the result displays “incorrect TC number”.

Qualities of Real N95 Masks:

  • NIOSH-approved respirators have headbands, which provide a perfect fit and protection against the COVID-19 virus.
  • All NIOSH-approved respirators have details and marketing on the packaging. Find the TC number and validate it on the CDC website.
  • “NIOSH” is often misspelled on fake N95 Masks like ‘NISH’ etc.
  • NIOSH N95 Masks are never approved for use by children.

Another way to identify Real N95 Mask

We saw a post by Oliver Zhang on Quora and find an interesting answer to the same query. He suggests;

  • first to check the package or the printing on the N95 mask to find the marking.
  • Then open the N95 mask to check if there is a melt-blown filter layer.
  • And then identify the melt-blown layer

But what is melt-blown layer? 

As per Oliver, a melt-blown layer looks very different from the other two transparent non-woven layers. It looks more like a white paper. The layer has very low flammability, so it melts in case of fire but does not flame. Also, there is the static electricity in the effective melt-blown layer. While tearing that layer into strips, you will feel the electrostatic adsorption effect.

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