The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reversed the decision to allow the emergency use of dozens of Chinese-made N-95 face masks, after government tests revealed that many of them they didn’t work the right way.
The agency had authorized the use of the masks to help address the shortage of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 emergency, on condition that their effectiveness was verified by independent testing laboratories.
That policy, implemented on April 3, was reversed after tests conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) showed that many face masks from China did not meet filtration standards.
Dow Jones previously reported that the FDA would withdraw the authorization.
The masks “may not provide adequate and uniform respiratory protection for health care personnel exposed to COVID-19,” the FDA said Thursday in a letter to healthcare providers.
The agency revoked the authorization for some 60 producers of protective masks made in China, and maintained the authorization for 14 firms, mainly because they met other criteria to show the FDA that their products work.
The FDA said it will also increase supervision of masks imported from China and that it will subject the loads to random testing.