Health Canada is warning the public about risks associated with counterfeit N95 respirators being sold across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since mid-February, authorities have recovered nearly 330,000 of the fake masks from Canadian distributors, having detained an additional 365,000 at the U.S. border.
The fake respirators “lack any assurance of safety, quality and efficacy,” the health agency said in a March 19 advisory.
“Respirators are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. They help protect health care providers and slow the spread of the disease.”
The illegally-made products resemble legitimate N95 masks by using the brand of established medical manufacturer, 3M.
Products with missing straps, strange odours, or blocked valves are likely not authentic 3M respirators, the advisory said.
“It is illegal to sell or advertise counterfeit health products. The Department takes this issue seriously and will use all available tools to stop these activities.”
Health Canada has detected three fake respirator versions circulating the country – including ones made to appear as Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860 and the 1860S models.
Counterfeit versions of 3M’s Aura Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+ have also been seized by border officials.
The public health agency said it’s working with the company to identify the source of the fakes and determine where they may have been distributed or sold within Canada
Visit 3M’s website or call its anti-fraud hotline (1-800-426-8688) for help identifying and reporting suspected counterfeit N95s.
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