N95 masks have become some of the most sought-after items as soon as WHO declared the world to be in a state of a pandemic. This otherwise easily available mask became much more expensive than it used to be, and at the same time much rarer to find as well. The market demand for the mask quickly outmatched the supply exponentially and, therefore, inflating the prices drastically. At the same time, the world demand for N95 masks put the existing raw material supply at lowest levels, creating a backlog of factory orders that have been waiting for months to receive new raw material to manufacture the N95 masks.
Now, the markets were almost flooded with fake N95 masks within a couple of months at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and there was no way to tell at first. CDC eventually released guidelines for spotting fake masks and then other professionals also started stepping forward. Few suggestions when shopping for an N95 mask online:
Before You Buy an N95 Mask:
Sometimes you can tell a mask is likely to be fake before you even order it.
Make Sure the Website Seems Authentic
Authentic, reputable websites delivering N95 masks will have a user-friendly and highly professional interface. The website will be up-to-date and frequently updated. The content and product pages will be uniform, with professional crystal clear quality photos. A good company will be frequently updating their blog and provide unique, quality content and ideas/advice. If you come across a site with many bugs or typos or flashing lights, poorly written content and terrible grammar then, likely, the site will not deliver an authentic N95 mask to you.
Look Out for Outwardly Claims
If you notice that the website in question is making big claims such as being able to kill the virus or being more effective than “regular” N95 masks, you have possibly stumbled upon fake products. Real, genuine N95 masks all are NIOSH approved and rated to provide greater than 95% bacterial filtration efficiency against harmful particles, including droplet and being fluid-resistant. However, standard N95 masks do not posses any built-in specific anti-viral properties. There is currently only one mask on the market that has received a US Patent and FDA Approval to make such claims - Respokare N95 mask, available here.
Is it Too Cheap or Too Expensive?
Since the pandemic, the prices for N95 masks have doubled and tripled, due to the demand and shortage of raw materials, effectively driving up prices of a commodity as basic law of economics. If you notice N95 masks online for more than $8-10 per mask, then that is too expensive. On the other hand, if you notice the masks are too low priced for $2-3, there is a possibility they may be fake. At some point in 2022, the authentic N95 mask pricing should stabilize around $3 range as the supply increases. For those that are shopping for an N95 mask now, current retail market prices for the genuine N95 masks are $4-6.00 a piece.
Are There Reviews on the Website?
Reviews on a website are a great way to tell how authentic the mask is and overall reputation of the supplier. If the reviews don’t seem too good or if they are suspiciously positive and vague, you might want to find a different supplier.
After Receiving the N-95 Mask
Once you have received your mask, look for the following indications.
Look Out for NIOSH Approval
The approval of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH is imperative for the use of masks. These approved masks need to be able to filter at least 95% of airborne particles. NIOSH Approval will be stamped on the packaging of the mask and on the mask itself, along with a TC #. The TC # can be verified in the CDC/NIOSH database.
If the mask has off-key elements such as ear loops or sequins, glitter, or even filters, you will want to steer clear from that mask. Keep in mind that KN95 masks are different from N95 masks. KN95 masks have passed nearly identical testing requirements as the N95 masks but come with earloops, instead of headbands.
Approved for Children
N95 masks are not meant for children yet, and there are no variations in the market for kids. So try to steer clear from masks that suggest otherwise.
Protectly.co guarantees authenticity of all of its products, we sell only 100% Genuine N95 masks.