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Health Canada issues recall for KN95 face masks made in China

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A number of KN95 face masks manufactured in China are the subject of a recall by Health Canada after determining they “pose a health and safety risk to end users”. 

Though it’s unclear how many masks have been recalled, Health Canada has determined that KN95 respirators manufactured by dozens of companies in China “failed to meet 95 per cent filtration specifications” of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 

“Health Canada cannot reasonably conclude that the benefits associated with having the KN95 Filtering Facepiece Respirator available in Canada, as currently labelled, outweigh the risks,” warned a Health Canada bulletin

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The bulletin, addressed to Canadian companies who are authorized to import or distribute supplies to hospitals and healthcare institutions, advises them to stop the sale of KN95 respirators if they come from the list of faulty manufacturers.

It also advises distributors to relabel what stock they do have as ‘face masks’ before sending them out for uses where 95 per cent filtration isn’t needed. 

KN95, which is China’s standard rating for respirators and has a similar rating to North America’s N95 masks, were deemed an acceptable alternative by the Department of Health for frontline helthcare workers. 

According to NIOSH, most of the recet recall’s products have an ear loop design, rather than the N95 head bands typically approved by NIOSH, which “indicate difficulty achieving a proper fit.” 

This recall comes several weeks after the recall of around one million KN95 masks purchased from China by Canada’s Public Health Agency. Samples from those masks also failed to capture 95 per cent of tiny particles, and were not distributed to front-line healthcare workers across the country. 

In light of PPE shortages across Canada, there have been several initiatives for domestic companies to begin manufacturing N95 masks, like the repurposing of a GM plant to produce one million masks per month. Lead photo by 

@xinxiao59

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