There are thousands of 3M respirators that have recently slipped past the investigators of the U.S. in the recent weeks and made it to the chins and cheeks of the health workers across the country. This has been perplexing experts who quote that these respirators are not very inferior to the actual masks. N95 marks as the name suggests are prized for the ability to filter out 95% of the microorganisms and other minute particles which carry the Covid-19 virus. The fake N95 masks have fooled the health officials in every state. About 1.9 million counterfeit 3M masks are distributed in around 40 hospitals in the state of Washington.
The situation regarding the masks
As per the state hospital association the officials have alerted the medical staff and pulled off the masks from the shelf. The elite Cleveland Clinic acknowledged recently that they inadvertently distributed these 3M counterfeits to the hospital staff since November. A similar admission was made by Minnesota hospital. At the Jersey Shore University Medical Centre in Neptune, New Jersey, the nurses have been very suspicious since the beginning of November. It was due to the fact that these distributed 3M masks were odd smelling. They thought these masks were knockoffs and their concerns were increased because masks lot numbers matched the ones which were listed as fake on its website.
The people have been scared for the last two and half months as said by Daniel Hayes who is a nurse and union vice president at the hospital. They feel like they were taking their lives with their own hands and they can’t wear anything else that’s terrifying.
As per the 3M company who is the leading producer of N95 masks in the U.S. since the beginning of pandemic, has been flooded with 10,500 queries about the authenticity of N95 masks. More than 10 million counterfeits have been seized since March when the pandemic began. The company stated in January that it has worked with the Government and other agencies led to seizure of fake masks which are offered or sold to the Government in at least 6 states. The Kaiser Health News published the photos of masks. After which the nurses in New Jersey questioned a 3M spokesperson about the masks they had to which he said he was positive that these masks are counterfeit.
Finding out the fakes
As per the request of an agency, ECRI which is a non-profit organization which helps the health care providers to assess the quality of the technology related to the medical sector. They agreed to test the purity of masks which has sparked the concern of the nurses of New Jersey. In the test of a dozen masks it was found out that these masks filtered out 95% or more of the particles which are of 0.3 micron which they are expected to catch.
Chris Lavanchy, ECRI’s engineering director had already said that there are several health care companies across the U.S. that have asked for similar tests of the fake 3M masks which the company has warned about.
Lavanchy already said that these results have shown very high filtration levels and also higher than expected breathing resistance. This resistance can cause higher than fatigue in the person who is wearing it. This will cause the wearer of the mask to lift the mask letting unfiltered air through which can be dangerous.
We are confused in our head and trying to grasp the situation because it’s not black and white as expected by anyone, said Lavanchy. They have looked at the masks and knew they were counterfeit immediately and they perform terribly.