The CDC warns of counterfeit N95/KN95 masks

My point is that it is simply a standard and so the actual masks could be made anywhere. Standard N95 masks could just as easily be made in China as well.

The masks that we are talking about here are counterfeit, meaning that they are not actually standard KN95 masks to begin with. There is a difference between “counterfeit” and simply “made in China.” An N95 mask from a disreputable manufacturer or distributor is just as likely to be counterfeit as a KN95 mask from the same source; that part has nothing to do with which standard it claims to be. The point is lying about the standard used in the quality control of the masks produced, not which standard is used or claimed to be used.

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Thank you.

I have seen another poster above suggesting Chinese masks were a bad thing.

At the start of this pandemic, half of the world’s masks were made in China.They were used everywhere. And to be able to sell them outside China as a medical product, they had to be certified.

China has increased its production capacity more than tenfold since the beginning of the pandemic. Other countries also increased their production, but the truth is: without China producing masks, the posters above would not even be able to buy a mask produced elsewhere.

Personally, I consider post of the sort above as no valuable contribution to the discussion. I’m not sure if they are against forum guidelines, that’s for the @moderators to decide.

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I really think that a lot of people are just confused about how standard certification works. There is no government agent looking at every mask being made to ensure that it is up to the standard. The whole “officially certified” thing is mostly just for advertising.

A standard is established (either by regulators or an industry organization), and then manufacturers produce products that aim to fulfill the standard. In order to verify that products fulfill the standard as designed, the manufacturer then performs testing and inspections under the rigid testing conditions defined by the standard before shipping only those products that pass the testing (although sometimes this is done with only one or a few products from each lot). A government (or non-government) agency will periodically audit the manufacturer and, in particular, their testing (i.e. quality control) processes and provide certificates for a particular testing laboratory, process or even piece of testing equipment.

My company manufactures products for export, and there is a very important regulatory value that those products must meet, and so the machines that we use to test these products are covered with certificates from many different countries and organizations. These certificates mean that products that were verified with this machine can be labeled as “XXX certified.” We make the products in Japan, but many of them are tested and shipped as conforming with US or EU standards because we sell the products there. It has nothing to do with where the products are made.

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US companies are now making KN95 masks as US consumers prefer the ear straps vs head. So said the news the other night…

The poster has biases that are wrong.

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There’s nothing inherently wrong with KN95 masks just because it is a Chinese standard, or with masks just because they are made in China.

The important thing is to only buy from reputable suppliers. Don’t buy masks from Amazon which will almost certainly be counterfeit, or buy from or sketchy fly by night sellers with too good to be true deals. If a seller won’t provide lab test results for their masks, run away.

This is true. N95 masks (at least real ones) will never have ear straps. Some people have real problems with head straps for various reasons. I know someone with claustrophobia and anxiety and has a real problem with the head straps vs ear straps because they know that they can’t easily remove them.

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We have KF94/FFP2’s made by masklab, and I highly recommend them.

Aaron collins has a bunch of videos on the different mask types and his own tests. I am saddened that a private citizen has needed to do these sorts of tests rather than there being regulation around the import of counterfit masks in general, but he’s a fan of masklab (they’ve actually altered their fit & finish based on his comments) and has some very long and detailed videos about his process if you are interested.

Probably the most useful thing he has, though, is known-good masks and suppliers of those masks in this google doc.

Here’s a somewhat old, but reasonable-length video of his for comparison:

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Wow, masklab has some pretty masks! I wish they carried something more robust than surgical style for kids.

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