According to NEWSWEEK, agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized roughly 500,000 counterfeits of N95 respirator masks at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport this Monday:
N95 masks can filter out 95 percent of very small air particles, offering wearers strong protection around possibly infected people. But the confiscated masks—which were headed towards a company in Manalapan, New Jersey, according to the Associated Press—didn't offer the same filtration power. When 30 masks were sent to a testing facility, 10 percent had a filter efficiency rating below 95 percent.
The masks' high filtration efficiency is due to its "melt blown" fabric filters. Melt blowing is a type of nonwoven fabric manufacturing method that uses hot air to blow a melted synthetic plastic called polypropylene into a sheet of micro- and nanofibers. The micro- and nanofiber fabric filters ensure that smaller particles can't get through the mask.
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