Published on July 30, 2021
The N95 masks are lifesavers in current COVID-19 times. The masks, which were designed to protect industrial workers from breathing fine dust particles at their workplace, have taken centerstage in preventing COVID-19 infection, especially in high-risk areas such as hospitals.
But is the N95 mask bought from your neighborhood shop or ecommerce website authentic? With the surge in demand for the masks, fake products have found their way into the market. Some go a step further and claim to be approved by regulatory bodies such as the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the International Standards Organization (ISO), sometimes even presenting approval numbers to make their claim sound impressive!
Fortunately, there are ways to check if the certification of an N95 mask is authentic. Some regulatory bodies that certify the masks list the approved products on their websites. For example:
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an American body which approves the N95 masks for occupational use, lists the companies producing N95 certified masks with their approval number at the link below:
The NIOSH TC or approval number can be checked at the following site:
A list of the N95 masks approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as surgical masks can be found at:
The International Standards Organization (ISO) certification of the masks can be checked at the following website:
The list may not be a comprehensive one, so if the mask does not figure in the list, you could write to the certified body that has approved the mask, the details of which may be provided with the mask.
The authenticity of the CE mark may not be possible to be checked online. It can, however, be checked by contacting the notified body, a list of which is available at the link below:
Masks that are approved by the Bureau of Indian Standards / with an ISI mark can be searched at the following website: https://www.manakonline.in/MANAK/ApplicationLicenceRelatedrpt
The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India also tests and approves face masks. According to the DRDO Twitter handle (6 June 2020), test certificates will be will be available on its website https://www.drdo.gov.in/. Meanwhile, a list of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Body Coverall certified by the DRDO is available at: https://www.drdo.gov.in/personal-protective-equipment-ppe-body-coverall-certificate-list
Finally, a certified N95 mask, or an FFP2 as defined by European Standards, can protect the user provided it is used correctly. The mask should form a seal around the nose and mouth. It must be washed or even dipped in hot water; it can be used till it gets soiled and must then be safely discarded.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional, or the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider for any medical condition, procedure, or treatment.