Saturday, April 18, 2020

Keep Your Eyes Wide Open in Distinguishing PPEs

Thank you for those of you who offered help to get our PPEs delivered to more healthcare workers in need. We were finally able to help a few healthcare organizations, and have a small amount currently in stock in the US remaining from the latest batch: protective goggles (EN166 standard), sterile N95 masks (GB10983 standard), FFP2 and KN95 masks, disposable masks, protective suits (medical grade), isolation gowns...including but not limited to these items. Those are for retail, please contact us if you or anyone you know need them in bulk, our quality/price ratio is competitive. 

Speaking of PPEs, please be careful and don't be fooled by some masks labeled as N95 but are in fact not up to N95 standards, we recently encountered many cases that are too good to be true: low quality and weight products with seemingly good "looks" and sales price lower than real N95 manufacturers' cost! The only three items those sellers care about are: A. appearance/English packaging, B. FDA registration, and C. purchase price. Unfortunately, contrary to popular misconception, none of these three are essential factors determining the quality of N95.

1. Appearance/English Packaging: Would you rather have a low-quality knockoff Italian dish with English menu, or would you prefer an authentic delicious dish in Rome with non-English menu but you can consume with joy? Just like how you can’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a packaging by the lack of English. Though if the packaging has bad English on it, that might actually bring it poor judgement.

2. As strict and time-consuming as the FDA process can take, FDA registration/certification is not a guarantee in this case. For example, there are many manufacturers who are new to the medical device industry in China and  got their FDA and CE done in the initial 6 months but meet lower GB standards or do not meet any GB standards with their subpar/low quality. Now these products labeled as "N95" are not really at N95 standard, and recently have been banned by China from exporting. Yet with skyrocketing shipping cost, the ones that were lucky escapers are actively abundant on the US market, creating an unfair price war against quality products that were not originally made with higher cost, but are also exported under more strict control and higher shipping cost. 

3. Don’t be fooled by those non-sterile masks with “N95” (mis)labels but lower GB or even no GB standards and extremely attractive price. Hospitals and healthcare workers need sterile masks but many manufacturers are skipping the 14-day process since they were taken by sellers with a relatively lower price for their own profit. Of course, non-sterile N95s are perfectly fine for layman usage. We have seen too many on the market with sales prices lower than the base cost. They simply registered with FDA and CE before directly exporting. Strictly speaking they are not “N95”! The one we selected is manufactured by an old and established company that has been specialized to provide AAA hospitals (best hospitals in China) well before this pandemic. Good for ICU usage. Check out this examination for non-medical N95s. One of the manufacturers we selected as our sterile N95 suppliers, is the supplier for AAA hospitals in China, the customers (top hospitals in China) are stable without the needs for exporting. They have their own dedicated stable market and have no need to appeal outside of it.

On the other hand, it is not worth it to compete for non-essential things, such as 3M brand, NIOSH certification, and English packaging, especially when you want a good deal without sacrificing quality. Because the numbers for 3M and NIOSH are so limited, they create a grey market (if not black market) on their own. We had NIOSH certified 3M 1096/1096S N95 masks before, and were amazed how crazy this can go! For many non professionals, 3M is not needed and not even the ideal mask in many cases. The mask itself is hard, uncomfortable after periods of time, and feels like part of an air filter strapped to your head with two rubber bands. In this case, it is better to leave 3M Masks like these to professional medical or construction workers who need protection from immediate risk without the risk of legal liability.

If you are a healthcare worker who wants the best quality/price ratio for N95 masks and other PPEs to guard you when in ICU, check out the PPE section of

If you are not a healthcare worker but still need day-to-day protection, we have the disposable masks for you too.

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