The world is reeling from the omicron variant’s continued spread, and the public is struggling to find more protective masks.
To safeguard yourself against harmful viruses, it is crucial to ensure that your mask offers optimal protection. One such type of mask is a surgical mask. A surgical mask provides three layers of defense against infection with their three-layer design.
Nevertheless, distinguishing between counterfeit surgical masks and authentic ones can pose a challenge for the average individual, leading to potential deception.
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.
If your utmost concern revolves around personal safety and preventing the onset of illnesses, it becomes crucial to guarantee that the mask you use has received official approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the authoritative entity entrusted with overseeing the regulation of medical devices.
To ensure the authenticity of your mask, it is essential to possess a well-fitting mask comprising three layers: a clear top layer, a middle layer in white, and a colored layer, typically found in shades of 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.
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!