Health Canada is warning Canadians about the risks of using fraudulent and unauthorized N95 masks that may not offer protection against COVID-19.

The organization said it has received reports that uncertified N95 respirator masks are being illegally sold online and in some stores.

In a news release Tuesday, Health Canada said “fraudulent or unauthorized N95 masks may not meet the same performance measures required by NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health),” and may not properly protect consumers from COVID-19.

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Certification can be confirmed by entering the item’s approval number into the NIOSH database.

Health Canada also said the product package should have “appropriate markings and details, as required by NIOSH,” including the TC (testing and certification) approval number, the name of the manufacturer, the NIOSH name or logo, the model number, and filter efficiency (N95).

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NIOSH-certified N95 respirators are designed to secure a close facial fit when worn properly.

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