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How to Spot a Fake Surgical Mask

How to Spot a Fake Surgical Mask

The world is reeling from the omicron variant’s continued spread, and the public is struggling to find more protective masks. If you want to be safe from nasty viruses, then it is important that your mask provides the best protection possible. One such type of mask is a surgical mask. A surgical mask provides three layers of defense against infection with their three-layer design.

However, it is easy to be fooled by a fake surgical mask, and it can be hard for the average person to know how they are different from real ones. 

To help you distinguish between real ones that will keep you safe from counterfeit products, this article will give you some steps to take when trying out new protection options. You can use these steps if you want a guaranteed authentic product. Please read on.

Check the Packaging

If a surgical mask looks or feels different to its regular packaging and is not advertised as new, then that is usually a red flag.

The outer packaging of medical surgical masks will be marked with a product registration number and the place from which it was made. If you want to be safe and not get sick, then make sure your mask is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is responsible for regulating medical devices.

Put It to the Test

To make sure your mask is legitimate, make sure that you have a properly fitting mask with three layers: a translucent top, a white piece in the middle and a coloured layer, which is usually white, blue or green.

You can do a rough test by pouring water into your mask. A fake surgical mask will leak and let tiny droplets or aerosols in. 

Also consider this: while it is difficult to breathe with the mask on, if you feel like there is not enough room for airflow or any chance at all of getting adequate oxygen, then chances are good that it isn’t an authentic piece.

Look for Quality-Control Issues

If you have a bent bridge wire or elastics that easily lose their stretch, it would impact your mask’s fit and consistency. This is because some brands only accept masks with perfect fitment for inspection purposes.

Check for Branding

The company’s name or logo should be on the mask.

In the mask industry, it is all about building brand loyalty and generating sales. If a company has no branding on their products, it doesn’t make sense because the goal is to generate a sale. Without branding, you cannot really identify who made or produced whatever product is being sold.

Look for Manufacturer Information

When you see a product with no contact information, it can be hard to know what steps are necessary for getting in touch. The lack of such details is suspicious and will leave customers feeling uncertain about their purchase.

Make Sure There Is an Expiration Date

Legitimate masks must always have an expiration date listed on the packaging.

Tampering on the Packaging

If you find an opened bag with masks inside, be sure to check the seal before using them. Suppose it has been resealed by someone other than its manufacturer. In that case, those particular items might have had handling beyond what is necessary for packaging, meaning they could potentially carry bacteria or disease.

Check the Price

Don’t fall for overly cheap products as price often indicates quality. Go with standard prices and always check labelling or descriptions of materials used.

What Does NSW Law Say About Fake Masks?

The NSW Fair Trading Commission treats misleading conduct seriously and will take action.

The Australian Consumer Law compels companies to be honest with their customers, and false advertising can result in severe fines. A company found guilty of making misleading statements could face a $10 million fine for corporate bodies or 500K per person.

The Australian Consumer Law ensures that you are entitled to a refund or replacement for any unsafe products which do not fit your needs. If you are unhappy with your mask and want to contact the NSW Fair Trading, just send them an email or make a call. They will help determine if it is safe for use.

Surgical Mask Standards Accepted in Australia

In Australia, surgical masks are classified according to their breathability, resistance to fluid and blood penetration and bacterial filtration efficiency. These classifications are as follows: 

  • Level 1: filters at least 95% of bacteria, suitable for clinical procedures with low risk of splashes
  • Level 2: filters at least 98% of bacteria, suitable for procedures with light to moderate risk of splashes
  • Level 3: filters at least 98% of bacteria, suitable for procedures with heavy risk of splashes and is required for invasive surgical procedures.

Takeaway

The global market for protective face masks has been on the rise due to COVID-19. But there is one problem: these products are being counterfeited and sold as authentic.

Counterfeit masks can be a cheap and synthetic alternative to authentic ones, but they lack the same level of protection. So, make sure you buy your face masks and other protective personal equipment only from trustworthy suppliers. Also, these tips here can help you spot fake surgical masks. Stay safe!

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