Jun 26, 2013

    Check on that N95 mask before you buy

    THE various brands and models of N95 face masks sold by retailers and websites have led some people to question if they are getting the real McCoy that can protect them from haze.

    Ms Tan Gee Keow, deputy secretary for policy at the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, has advised consumers to be careful and do their checks on face masks that they intend to buy.

    She said during a media briefing on Sunday that, when in doubt, buyers should check the websites of manufacturers and ensure the products are endorsed by certifying bodies before buying.

    A spokesman for 3M, which produces N95 masks, said that when buying masks approved by the United States' National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), consumers should look for the approval information printed on the masks.

    Consumers can check against a list of NIOSH-approved masks and their manufacturers at

    With regard to its N95 masks, the 3M spokesman said that, other than authorised dealers and reputable retailers, there could be unauthorised parties selling the masks here.

    Mr Seah Seng Choon, executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), said the group has not received any complaints about fake N95 face masks being sold.

    However, he advised consumers to buy masks from reputable retailers and to steer clear of questionable shops and websites.

    He said that, under Singapore's Lemon Law, if the N95 masks do not meet standards of quality and performance, consumers can seek replacements or refunds.

    On reports of some retailers jacking up prices of N95 masks here, he said there are no regulations on the prices of masks. But he said Case is prepared to name retailers who inflate prices to make a quick buck.

    "We have written to retailers and suppliers to urge them to keep to the recommended retail prices, and not to take advantage of consumers during this critical period," he said.