Combat Counterfeit PPE: How to tell the difference

Demands for life-saving PPE hit hard and fast as COVID-19 increased its grip across the globe, and many reputable manufacturers stepped up to help. But alongside them came unscrupulous suppliers who threw their products in the ring in an attempt to ride the rising tide of sales.




As with any product that becomes a hot commodity, producers of lower-quality goods rushed to market to make fast and easy sales. It happened with fidget spinners that were popular a few years ago. It didn’t take long to see knock-off low-priced versions of the toy being sold at every checkstand across the country.


Different Products, Different Consequences

Sometimes it’s harmless when manufacturers bring lower-cost, lower-value goods to the market, but with PPE it’s different. The stakes are much higher because personal protective equipment is life-saving equipment that protects frontline workers, caregivers, individuals—as well as all of the people in their care.


A broken toy can be thrown away and chalked up as an inconsequential loss most times.


The narrative changes entirely when we’re talking about Inferior personal protective equipment that doesn’t pass testing standards, breaks down at crucial moments, and doesn’t protect wearers or patients from airborne pathogens and particles.


Compromise in Quality Doesn’t Pay

It may seem like a good idea to buy PPE by the caseload (or truckload) at bargain-basement prices. After all, you could outfit your entire staff with mandated and necessary equipment, right? Wrong. All of that equipment does no good if it’s not effective and of high enough quality to withstand the demands of your employees’ duties.


Picture PPE that constantly breaks down or falls apart.

It must constantly be discarded and replaced. This gets expensive, and pretty soon, you’re not saving as much as you thought.


Picture PPE that doesn’t pass testing and safety standards.

You end up with employees who aren’t protected—and if they are caregivers, they’ll also pass along and ingest particles more easily.


Picture PPE that doesn’t fit well.

This is a safety hazard. PPE that is too loose can become entangled in equipment, and PPE that is tight or uncomfortable simply discourages use altogether.


Picture PPE that is being passed off as tested and approved.

It’s happening more and more, and businesses and individuals are being taken advantage of. In February of this year, authorities raided a New York warehouse and discovered more than 1.7 million counterfeit N95 masks. These are masks that are untested and unreliable.


The Perfect Storm

A global pandemic, a shortage of PPE, and an abundance of businesses willing to take advantage of the desperation of individuals and businesses—that’s what it took for the business of counterfeit PPE to take off. When masks, gloves, booties, and gowns seemed nearly impossible to acquire, it was a relief to find anything that might work, and that’s what counterfeiters were waiting for.



How to Get the PPE You and Your Team Deserve

There are a few simple things you can do to ensure you’re getting your hands on high-quality, durable personal protective equipment that you can count on:


  1. Look at the materials used. A quality manufacturer of N95 masks, surgical masks, and other PPE will talk openly about the materials they use and their sources for obtaining materials.

At Green Resources Consulting, we have nothing to hide! We ensure all of our materials are ethically sourced and are scientifically tested to endure the rigors of the most demanding professions. We’ve added active bamboo carbon for additional filtration, and we’re sure you’ll love the comfort of our nonwoven spun-bond material. In between an inner and outer layer of spun-bond, you’ll find THREE layers of melt-bond nonwoven material, a highly porous material with electrostatic qualities that traps airborne particles. And with all FIVE layers, this effective and efficient mask is lighter than a piece of paper!


2. Look at the design & features. N95 respirator masks have two headbands that fit around the head and neck. This is to ensure a proper, snug fit. (An N95 won't have earloops!)


3. Look for spelling errors. This is a dead giveaway that you’ve gotten your hands on a counterfeit piece of PPE. For example: if the NIOSH acronym is printed incorrectly, you have a counterfeit mask. If the company name is printed incorrectly on the mask, it’s likely counterfeit.


4. Look at a company’s selling platform. Are there broken links or unfinished pages? This could be a signal to do a little more research.


5. Look at the appearance. True N95 masks are typically not decorative like cloth masks. They usually come in colors like blue, white, or gray.


A few telltale signs will help you ascertain who’s on the up-and-up and who is trying to trick you into buying inferior products in a pinch.


We know how tough it’s been during this pandemic. It’s gone on for a long time, but it still feels like it hit unexpectedly—and our PPE stockpile wasn’t where it needed to be in the U.S.


At Green Resources Consulting, we’re working to change that!


Coronavirus won’t be the last health concern we have to deal with. But it’s taught us a lot.


We’re ready. We’ve done our homework, and we’re prepared.


Masks and PPE aren’t going away. And Green Resources is just getting started. We’re helping the planet, driving sustainability, and we’re delivering the highest quality solutions to protect frontline workers, caregivers, family members, and individuals everywhere.


Let’s stay connected.


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