US Coronavirus Fight May Be Hampered By Poor-Quality Masks

US Coronavirus Fight May Be Hampered By Poor-Quality Masks

Regulators and state officials in the United States have discovered that a large number of imported N95-type masks are falling short of U.S. certification standards, endangering front-line workers fighting the pandemic.

Imported Masks Fail To Block Small Particles 

Tests carried out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have found that up to 60% of 67 types of imported masks failed to protect against minute particles, allowing more to permeate the masks than permitted by U.S. standards, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. One KN95 mask, which is the Chinese equivalent of the N95, filtered out just 15% of particles. Another mask filtered only 35% of the particles. NIOSH told the Journal that they were “concerned about this issue.”

US Struggles With Mask Shortage 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed the import of foreign masks, including those from China, on an emergency basis. These masks use ear loops. Lawrence General Hospital in Massachusetts had distributed some of the masks before seeing the NIOSH alert, according to the Journal.

The masks the hospital distributed were manufactured by Dasheng Health Products Manufacture Co.

The U.S. is facing a shortage of masks after China nationalized its handful of large N95 mask manufacturers including Dasheng Health Products. China produced over half of the world’s masks before the pandemic.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said that masks prevent COVID-19, but the shortage has risen to 50 billion pieces. Even the largest U.S. manufacturer of masks, 3M CO. MMM, cannot meet the increased demand.

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