Ways You Can Test for KN95 Face Mask Counterfeits at Home

Surgical KN95 masks

KN95 face masks of certified quality can help to insulate our healthcare heroes and other front-line workers from contracting COVID-19. With the sharp rise in demand, Chinese manufacturers are now churning out over 200 million face masks daily. However, the delta between supply and demand keeps growing and, unfortunately, more counterfeit kn95 face masks are being produced. Consequently, false replicas are infiltrating the market, often being sold at exorbitant prices.

These counterfeits are often faithful in appearance, but the difference and the danger lies in the flammability, permeability, and liquid resistance of the material, all of which are vital factors in its ability to filter contagions.

Below are three 10-second tests for confirming the quality of your face mask at home.

Test 1

What You Need: Lighter

  1. Put on your face mask
  2. Hold and activate a lighter six inches from your mouth
  3. Try to extinguish the flame by blowing on it

Certified mask: You cannot blow out the flame no matter how hard you try.

Poor quality mask: You can put the flame out with a counterfeit kn95 face mask.

Why? Certified lab-tested KN95 masks are made of durable and breathable full mesh nylon, which meets stringent standards for inspiratory resistance (<=350 Pa) and expiratory resistance (<=250 Pa). Note that “Pa” is short for “Pascals,” the international unit of measurement for air pressure. What this implies is that the material obstructs contagions during inhaling and exhaling while allowing comfortable air circulation.

Test 2

What You Need: Sweet and Low

  1. Put on your face mask
  2. Empty the contents of a pack of Sweet and Low on a spoon or flat surface
  3. Try sniffing with the mask on and the mask off, noting any difference

Certified mask: You catch the fragrance, but only faintly.

Poor quality mask: You can still smell the saccharin in full force.

Why? A certified lab-tested KN95 mask has a filtration rate of more or equal to 95% and is designed to filter out at least 95% of particles sized three microns or larger.

Test 3

Lab-tested KN95 mask

What You Need: Water

  1. Hold your face mask by the elastic bands, with the inside of the mask facing up
  2. Fill the mask with water

Certified mask: The mask cups the water with zero leakage.

Poor quality mask: Water leaks from the mask.

Why? Official surgical KN95 masks must have a waterproof layer to protect the wearer from splashes of biological fluids. It is worth noting that according to OSHA, your mask can be washed and reused as long as it “maintains its structural and functional integrity, and the filter material is not physically spoiled or soiled.”

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