An N95 mask or N95 respirator is a particulate-filtering face piece respirator that meets the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) N95 classification of air filtration, meaning that it filters at least 95% of airborne particles.
N95 respirators are considered functionally equivalent to certain respirators, such as FFP2 respirators of the European Union and KN95 respirators of China.
The N95 mask requires a fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers, specifically a nonwoven polypropylene fabric. It is produced by melt blowing and forms the inner filtration layer that filters out hazardous particles.
Signs that a respirator may be counterfeit
• No markings at all on the filtering facepiece respirator
• No approval (TC) number on filtering facepiece respirator or headband
• No NIOSH markings
• NIOSH spelled incorrectly
• Presence of decorative fabric or other decorative add-ons (e.g., sequins)
• Claims for the of approval for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children)
• Filtering facepiece respirator has ear loops instead of headbands