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Exercise your fundamental rights, especially your Right to Information and ask for a copy of the certification before purchasing a maskThinking of buying an N95 mask? With brands in a scurry to jump on to the Make in India bandwagon, the market is flooded with fake N95 masks with counterfeit certification. These fakes will pose a health risk to anyone wearing them because they provide little protection against air pollution or the coronavirus. Therefore, it is time to educate yourselves and take your health in your own hands. The demand for N95 masks spiked due to COVID-19 pandemic, giving rise to a sudden spurt of counterfeit and spurious products.Masks which are effective against particles larger than 0.3 microns (which would work only against bacteria) are labelled as N95. What does N95 stand for, you may ask? The letter ‘N’ in N95 signifies that the respirator is resistant to oil, and ‘95’ implies it filters 95% of airborne particles, down to 0.3 microns in size. It is a respirator standard set by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). Only those facemasks that meet the US NIOSH, N95 classification for filtering airborne particulate contaminants are certified to be N95 respirators. However, a mask that has N95 written on it is not enough to certify its validity. It is often made with cheap fabric and fake parts by manufacturers to make a quick buck, especially during the current economic slump due to the pandemic. Additionally, a lot of brands mention CE, N95 and NIOSH Certified on their packaging. But have we as conscientious consumers ever asked for a proof of this certification? Our lack of awareness and proper regulatory oversight has resulted in the increased number of bogus N95 masks. Therefore, it is essential to examine a mask carefully, as well as ask the manufacturer for a copy of the certification if it is unavailable, before buying it. One way to do this is by logging on to CDC’s website where NIOSH has listed all the certified license holders to manufacture the N95 mask across the globe. The veracity of the claims made by manufacturers can be verified by checking the website. Another visible trend is mask manufacturers claiming that the mask conforms to NIOSH, CE or N95 standards, which is just a roundabout way of saying that you are buying a non-certified mask. We at Nirvana Being are a Global Indian brand with close to 6 years of experience in this industry, and have recently launched India’s first N95 anti-viral and anti-pollutionmask. It has a Viral Filtration Efficiency of 96% coupled with the lowest breathing resistance in the world, both of which are substantiated by a certification from Nelson Labs, USA. With the combined impact of a respiratory virus and peak air pollution over the next 6 winter months, it is imperative that we raise the bar on our protective gear. Not enough to simply cover our face anymore with cloth masks or fake masks, you need serious protection. Please research before you buy, so you can step out safely and with confidence.
Make the right mask your weapon in this fight against Coronavirus to protect yourself and your loved ones.