CDC/NIOSH Advisory: Beware of Counterfeit or Misrepresentative Respirators

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised there are respirators that are falsely being marketed and sold as NIOSH-approved.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has advised that there are counterfeit respirators and/or misrepresentations of NIOSH approval on some respirators that you should be aware of before purchasing or using them.


NIOSH lists these as indicators 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 approval for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children)
  • Filtering facepiece respirator has ear loops instead of headbands

NIOSH will post updates to their website to alert users, purchasers, and manufacturers of newly determined counterfeit respirators sold as NIOSH-approved. For additional information and a list of known counterfeit respirators, go to:

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.

Nationwide Loss Control Services has a number of resources designed to help reduce your risk during the COVID-19 pandemic at, including the following articles:


The information presented here is intended to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nothing here is intended to imply a grant of coverage.  Each claim will be evaluated on its own merits and circumstances. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2021 Nationwide

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