Counterfeit N-95 Masks Actually Working, Say WA Officials
They're being removed from supplies and circulation, but now Washington state hospitals are finding the counterfeit N-95 masks that made their way into the state are actually effective.
A number of weeks ago manufacturer 3-M reached out to authorities and any other companies who purchased some of their N-95 masks for COVID use, and told them they may have been sent 'fakes.'
3-M is working with Homeland Security, and apparently discovered as many as 11 million of the masks that were shipped out were counterfeit. Officials are not sure how they made their way into circulation, but officials with the Washington Hospital Association says as many as 40% of hospitals in our state got at least at few.
Officials say there's likely two ways they were circulated: One, someone who works for 3-M stole a mask or the specs and began making their own on the black market: or Two, due to massive production demand, night shift workers stole thousands from product overruns (making too many) and began to circulate and sell them on their own.
Either way, officials now say the the counterfeit ones actually work and are proving to be effective. Investigators say they're surprisingly well made for fakes.
They're so well made, the only way to determine fakes is using LOT numbers from shipments from 3-M and their tracking data.
Even if they're working, officials expect Homeland Security to take all of them off the market and out of use, even if it takes a while to round them all up.