The U.S. government has confiscated around 10 million phony N95 masks which are being sold to hospitals, frontline workers and government organizations.
Homeland Security agents busted a warehouse Wednesday in which thousands of counterfeit 3M N95 masks were housed prior to being shipped out, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
3M is a company located in Maplewood, Minnesota, and specializes in producing N95 masks that have been approved by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
BREAKING: Homeland Security says it has seized roughly 10 million phony N95 masks in recent weeks in an ongoing counterfeit investigation. In the most recent seizure, hundreds of thousands of counterfeit masks were intercepted in an East Coast warehouse. https://t.co/P4ChgIm6ik
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 17, 2021
Homeland Security informed roughly 6,000 individuals in at least 12 states that they may have unknowingly purchased the counterfeit masks, putting themselves at risk, the AP reported.
The phony masks are dangerous because they come from outside the normal supply chain and do not meet proper N95 standards, according to the AP. (RELATED: REPORT: Federal Authorities Investigate Massive Foreign-Made Counterfeit N95 Mask Operation)
“Not only do they give a false sense of security, how dangerous is the exposed individual without any protective gear? They have no utility whatsoever,” explained Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
3M manufactured and delivered approximately 2 billion N95 masks during 2020, which was triple what they produced in 2019, according to their website. However, as the pandemic continued and masks fell into short supply counterfeit mask sales increased across the country, the AP reported.