February 1, 2024

NIOSH Sounds Alarm About Counterfeit P100 Filters

Many counterfeit P100 filters are being sold on well-known online marketplaces, NIOSH warns. According to the agency, many of the filters available through these marketplaces claim to be P100 filters but are not part of a NIOSH-approved respirator configuration. The agency’s website includes photographic examples from listings of counterfeit filters that use the same part numbers associated with authentic, NIOSH-approved 3M P100 filters. The photos show that the counterfeit filters are missing some or most of the information that is required to appear on genuine products. NIOSH requires the abbreviated labels on agency-approved P100 filters to indicate the name of the approval holder, the product model or trade name, the protections or filter series, the part number, the “NIOSH” mark, and the lot number. The location of the lot number varies; for example, it could appear on the filter, on the packaging, or in the user instructions per NIOSH requirements.

NIOSH cautions purchasers that some manufacturers and sellers that are not NIOSH approval holders may falsely claim that their filters are compatible with facepieces manufactured by NIOSH approval holders.

“Users cannot use these filters in place of the filter component associated with the NIOSH Approved respirator,” the agency stresses. “If so, it will void the NIOSH approval and may not provide the claimed level of protection to the user.”

Listings of counterfeit respirators and those that misrepresent NIOSH approval appear on NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory website. NPPTL posts photos and explanations of counterfeit respirators as it becomes aware of them on the market. Safety managers, industrial hygienists, and others should use NIOSH’s certified equipment list to determine whether respirators they are currently using or considering using are NIOSH-certified.