Is your mask real or fake? CDC issues warnings on counterfeit N95, KN95 masks

FILE - In this Friday, March 5, 2021 file photo, a restaurant worker holds his face mask in Biloxi, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

by Ida DomingoThursday, January 13th 2022

4VIEW ALL PHOTOSFILE – In this Friday, March 5, 2021 file photo, a restaurant worker holds his face mask in Biloxi, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

WASHINGTON (7News) — As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering updating its mask guidance due to the spread of the omicron variant, scammers online are selling counterfeit N95 and KN95 masks.

The CDC says as people decide to upgrade their cloth masks to masks with a level of higher protection, like KN95 and N95, they should be careful and do their research before buying anything online.

SEE ALSO | CDC considers updating mask guidance

The agency reported that about 60% of N95 or KN95 masks in the market are counterfeit and do not meet the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requirements.null

RELATED | It might be time to upgrade your face mask. Here’s what doctors say you need to know.

Per the CDC, here’s how to identify a NIOSH-approved respirator:

  • NIOSH-approved respirators have an approval label on or within the packaging of the respirator (i.e. on the box itself and/or within the users’ instructions). Additionally, an abbreviated approval is on the FFR itself.
  • You can verify the approval number on the NIOSH Certified Equipment List (CEL) or the NIOSH Trusted-Source page to determine if the respirator has been approved by NIOSH.
  • NIOSH-approved FFRs will always have one of the following designations: N95, N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99, P100.

Example of the Correct Exterior Markings on a NIOSH-Approved Filtering Facepiece Respirator. (CDC)

RELATED | Don’t get scammed! Here’s how to tell if your at-home COVID-19 test is real

Signs that a respirator mask 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 of approval for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children)
  • Filtering facepiece respirator has ear loops instead of headbands

Example of a counterfeit N95, KN95 masks (CDC)

The CDC has a full list of approved and non-approved masks here.
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FDA issues warning about 2 recalled COVID-19 tests

FILE - In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a nurse uses a swab to perform a coronavirus test in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

FILE – In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a nurse uses a swab to perform a coronavirus test in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

GLYNIS KAZANJIAN | 7News Staff 2 – 3 minutes

WASHINGTON (WJLA) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about two COVID-19 tests manufactured by Empowered Diagnostics because the tests are not authorized or approved by the FDA, despite labeling that indicates they are.

CovClear COVID-19 Rapid Antigen and ImmunoPass COVID-19 Neutralizing Antibody Rapid tests have been recalled by Empowered Diagnostics, the FDA said.

The FDA is concerned about the potential for false test results.

SEE ALSO | Is your mask real or fake? CDC issues warnings on counterfeit N95, KN95 masks

The recall is listed as a Class 1 recall, which the FDA says is the most serious type.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning people to stop using the Empowered Diagnostics CovClear COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test and ImmunoPass COVID-19 Neutralizing Antibody Rapid Test. These tests were distributed with labeling indicating they are authorized by the FDA, but neither test has been authorized, cleared, or approved by the FDA for distribution or use in the United States,” the statement said.

RELATED | FDA curbs use of antibody drugs sidelined by omicron

The FDA said people who have tested with the recalled Empowered Diagnostic COVID-19 products should talk to their physician if they are concerned about recent results.

Health care providers should consider retesting patients using FDA-authorized COVID-19 testing kits if patients tested with the recalled products within the last two weeks.

ALSO SEE | Omicron amps up concerns about long COVID and its causes

Problems with the CovClear COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test and the ImmunoPass COIVID-19 Neutralizing Antibody Rapid test may be reported to the FDA.

For more information on the recalls, go here.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Transformed Worker’s Rights

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Linda Speckhals Author

In 1911, the Triangle Waist Company occupied the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building in New York City. The building was east of Washington Square Park, on the northwest corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in Greenwich Village. The Triangle Waist Company made women’s blouses, which were called “shirtwaists” and employed approximately 500 workers. These workers were mainly females who were young Italian and Jewish immigrants. They worked for nine hours each weekday and seven hours on Saturdays. They were paid between $7 and $12 per week, which was the equivalent of $197 to $337 per week in 2021 dollars. Source: (Wikipedia/color).

On Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire started in a scrap bin under a cutter’s table on the 8th floor. There was of course speculation as to the fire’s origins, with an article in The New York Times suggesting it may have been caused by the engines that ran the sewing machines, and Collier’s published articles related to patterns of arson in the garment industry as products fell out of fashion. The Insurance Monitor noted that insurance for manufacturers of shirtwaists was “fairly saturated with moral hazard” since the garment had recently fallen out of fashion. The owners of the company, Blanck and Harris, had had four earlier suspicious fires at their companies, but they were not suspected of arson in this case.

Working in the factory prior to the fire. Source: (Barbara’s Bookstore/colorized).

The Fire Started In A Scrap Bin

The scrap bin contained cuttings accumulated over two months prior to the fire, and the Fire Marshal later concluded that the fire was likely caused by an unextinguished match or cigarette in that scrap bin. Smoking was banned in the factory, but the cutters sometimes snuck smoke breaks, exhaling cigarette smoke through their lapels. There were hundreds of pounds of scraps in the wooden bin, which was under a wooden table, and hanging fabrics surrounded it, allowing for the fire to quickly spread out of control. Once the fire broke out, a bookkeeper on the 8th floor used a telephone to call employees on the 10th, but there was no way to reach those on the 9th. There were, of course, exits, which included two freight elevators, a fire escape, and stairways to Greene Street and Washington Place. The workers were unable to use the Greene Street stairs because of the flames, and management kept the door to the Washington Place stairway locked as they wanted to keep workers from taking unauthorized breaks, stop theft, and keep union organizers out. The key was held by a foreman who had already escaped using a different route. Some workers were able to escape via the Greene Street stairway, fleeing to the roof. Others packed themselves into the elevators while they were still operational. The fire escape was flimsy and not properly anchored to the building. Workers crowded onto it to flee the flames, and it collapsed with the heat and weight; 20 victims fell to their death on the concrete below.

People crowded to witness the scene. Source: (Library of Congress/colorized).

Some Escaped Using The Elevators

The first fire alarm was sounded by a passerby who saw smoke pouring from the 8th-floor window. Although the fire department arrived quickly, their ladder could only reach the 7th floor. Joseph Zito and Gaspar Mortillaro, the elevator operators, were able to help many people get to safety as they traveled three times to the 9th floor, but the rails of Mortillaro’s elevator buckled with the heat. Zito was unable to use his elevator after people pried open the doors and tried to slide down the cables or jump into the empty shaft, which warped the car and made it unusable.

People began to jump from the windows to escape the fire; 62 men and women jumped or fell to their deaths. All told, 146 garment workers died, 123 women and 23 men. They ranged in age from 14 to 43.

The fire carts pulled by horses. Source: (Library of Congress/Wikipedia/colorized).

Some Fled To The Roof 

When the fire broke out, both owners were at the factory with their children. They were able to flee to safety on the roof and were followed by some of the workers. One of these women, Rose Freedman, was almost 18 on the day of the fire, and she became a lifelong supporter of unions as a result of her experience. The last living survivor, she died at 107, on February 15, 2001. 

After the fire. Source: (US Department of Labor/colorized).

The Aftermath

Both owners were indicted on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter, but they were found not guilty. They were, however, found liable of wrongful death in a civil suit in 1913 and had to pay the plaintiffs $75 for each victim. Incidentally, their insurance company paid Blanck and Harris $60,000 more than their reported losses, which amounted to approximately $400 per victim. Blanck was arrested again in 1913 for locking the factory door during working hours and was fined only $20. After the fire, the New York State Legislature created the Factory Investigating Commission, and New York State became one of the leaders in labor reform. One of the witnesses, Frances Perkins, would start to work towards reform. She would later be appointed United States Secretary of Labor, making her the first female Cabinet member.

Petition · Stop Walmart From Promoting Fake Service Dogs ·

Good News! Walmart has stopped selling the items on their site!

Walmart has started selling service dog jackets and ID registration cards.

This is affecting every disabled person with a legitimate task trained service dog. It puts our lives more at risk.

ADA Federal Law, Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 specifically says that some organizations sell fraudulent registration cards and that they are scams because they hold no legal authority and do not make a dog a service dog.

Extensive training makes a dog a service dog. The fake service dog trend is getting out of control. And Walmart is promoting this for money. 

Why do the 500,000 disabled people in the US who own service animals have to worry more about going to Walmart and having our $20,000 dogs attacked by pets in the store. That’s 500,000 service dogs lives and safety on the line.

Task trained service dogs save our lives. Mine is for cardiac alert. We encounter pets in Walmart all the time. And Walmart never wants to help. Even when dogs are actively barking and lunging trying to attack.

Instead of making things better and properly educating employees, they are creating a bigger problem by selling these products. 

Walmart is not the only one adding to the problem. There’s many online stores and websites that also promote this. 

Our biggest problem is the uneducated general public. But Walmart is by far the worst place to go with a Service Dog. I shouldn’t have to accept the fact that my Medical Alert Service Dog WILL be attacked at some point.

The Fake service dog trend is so out of control that it will happen. And it won’t be just me and my dog. Many service animals have already been attacked. And it’s only going to get worse unless we make a change now.

The root cause of inflation