Where to purchase non-counterfeit N95 masks from small U.S. manufacturers

Counterfeit N95 masks manufactured in China have been a problem since May. The market is flooded with them now, including Amazon. Millions of counterfeit N95 masks were purchased by 5 states. I don’t know if they checked the FDA EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) list or the CDCs list of NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approved manufacturers to see if they were legitimate before purchasing them. 

N95 Face masks I recently purchased

I purchased NIOSH approved N95 masks, without valves, from one of the manufacturers in this article. I will be using them instead of my KN94 and KN95 masks when I need more protection.

I purchased them from Beilcor and received the masks within a week. The mask I purchased, “201”, had “behind the head” loops, which make the masks fit better than ear loops but only had one size. The masks were “softer” and much more comfortable than my old N95 masks. Other models were out of stock. There were over 100 reviews. None were negative but had some useful comments.

Another manufacturer, Demetech, had 2 sizes of masks in two styles, cupped and folding. I plan on trying them as I liked the folding KN95 masks as they are more convenient as I take my mask off and on.


At the same time, small manufacturers can’t sell their inventory due to the “ingrained purchasing habits of hospital systems, medical supply distributors and state governments”. Can’t Find an N95 Mask? This Company Has 30 Million That It Can’t Sell. I have been reading about this problem since May.

What is NOISH?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. The N95 masks in this post are approved and regulated by NIOSH and have been in use for decades. About NIOSH from CDC website.

Relevant links from This Blog – lots of detailed information

KN94 and KN95 masks – my experience

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How the NFL kept its players and staff safe from Covid

Note: Attendees at Super Bowl on February 7, 2021 were given KN95 masks. Updated 2-10-21

The NFL tested everyone, every day, and did genetic sequencing to see how people got infected. They worked with the CDC to find out what they needed to do, how to get the data and how implement it. Face Masks were extremely important.

Playing was safe. Training was less safe (players stood around). Eating together was risky as face masks must be removed.

Face Masks were key. The CDC report is relevant for everyone, whether you play team sports or not. I play pickleball doubles so this information is relevant to me as well as to others who play team sports.

Where to get more information

Read more about it and watch a 4 minute video How playing it safe allowed the NFL – and the rest of us – to have a Super Bowl 2-5-21 Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent (neuro surgeon) interviews NFL Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills (orthopedic surgeon).

Listen to the full 16 minute podcast interview: A Pandemic Superbowl Fascinating, behind the scenes, interview.

Good story about how they did physical movement tracing and comments about the game. What the NFL did to keep Covid-19 off the field during the Super Bowl Masks, distancing, testing, and proximity sensors: The NFL’s Covid-19 playbook, explained. 2-8-21

The best information about team sports and Covid that I have heard or read!!

Comments below on who wore face masks at the Super Bowl

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KN94, KN95 and Elastomeric Respirators: What and Where to Buy

Updated 2-17-21Where to purchase non-counterfeit N95 masks from small U.S. manufacturers February 17, 2021

More kN95 masks are counterfeit. Be Careful what you buy. Better to have a cloth or surgical mask that an fake n95 that does nothing!! Use the link above.

Another post on this blog was done the same time as this post . Surgical and Cloth Face Masks – What to Buy and Where to Purchase February 4, 2021

Updated 2-10-21 The only regulated face masks are surgical, n95, and elastomeric respirators. They are regulated by the FDC and NIOSH. There is lots of information on using the masks, safety, and lists of approved masks. There are no regulations for any other type of face masks.

It’s really the Wild West out there,” said Joseph Allen, associate professor and director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We’re a year into this pandemic. It shouldn’t take hours and hours for a consumer to try and figure out what’s a decent mask,” he said.

I spent a lot of time trying to find information on what face masks to buy and where to buy them. Cloth mask information was not too difficult to find. KN94 and KN95 information was not clear.

Assume that any n95 mask in a store or online is counterfeit except Where to purchase non-counterfeit N95 masks from small U.S. manufacturers February 17, 2021

Finding the specific face mask you want on Amazon is very difficult without the product’s exact full name. When you get the name, use google to give you the exact link to amazon. There are too many face masks available online.

There is still a shortage of n95 masks after almost a year. They are only available to health care workers and are purchased through medical supply companies that do not sell to consumers. President Biden wants to get more masks for healthcare workers. Maybe someday they will be available to everyone else so we can buy the “Gold Standard” for maximum protection from the virus.

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Surgical and Cloth Face Masks – What to Buy and Where to Purchase

This is the best cloth mask I have used, with all the features I want:

Bespoke Face Mask – Very good. Available at Kohls store or online.

Has all my criteria:
– Bendable nose bar
– Adjustable elastic ear loops
– 3 layer
– Built in filter lining (E-PTFE, similar to n95)

– 2 sizes: S/M, L/XL. Also has children size masks.
– Flap above the nose keep glasses from fogging (the best anti fogging in any masks I used.)

They are available from Kohls in store or online. $10 list price each but often on sale. Online ordering: Kohls requires a minimum $75 purchase for free shipping. Otherwise shipping cost is $8.95. Comes in many colors. If you order online there is free delivery to a local store. I ordered six black masks for $30. They were brought to my car in the parking spot for pickup about a week later.

In my local store there are limited selections of Children and Large/Extra Large. The big surge in buying masks was last year. Their market is young women and girls who prefer the “flowery” colored masks.

If you google bespoke face masks, the link for Kohls comes up. Other links show also, but I don’t know if they are for the face masks. Direct link to Kohls.

A friend bought these at Kohls while she was shopping for clothes and told me about them. Word of mouth works again!!

The difference between cloth and n95 masks

Cloth masks are woven and lets particles though. N95 masks are not woven and “trap” the virus particles. The differences between Cloth and n95 masks . Excellent animation . Only 5 minutes long.

With these animations, you can see how cotton and n95 mask filtering works. For example, you can see the smallest particles being bounced around by air molecules in a random zig-zag pattern, increasing the time they spend in the fiber forest and their chances of getting captured.

Assume that any n95 mask in a store or online is counterfeit except Where to purchase non-counterfeit N95 masks from small U.S. manufacturers February 17, 2021

Updated 2-11-21 I am very worried about the new variants and am upgrading my face masks. At least two of the variants have been found in the Bay Area, where I live. The new United Kingdom virus variant, B.1.1.7, is expected to increase our risk of getting an infection by 50% or more by the end of March, per the CDC. We can see our future by looking at what is going in the U.K. The new South African variant,B.1.351, may be even more contagious. Current vaccines may not work well on it. You may need to upgrade your masks. Surgical and cloth face masks – what to buy and where to purchase is very important.

Another post on this blog was done at the same time as this post. KN94, KN95, and Elastomeric Respirators: What and Where to Buy February 4, 2021

NOTE: At the Super Bowl game February 7, 2021, the attendees wore KN95 masks. How playing it safe allowed the NFL – and the rest of us – to have a Super Bowl4 minute video and a story about how they did it with the help of the CDC. Very, very interesting including what was risk and what was safe with lots of data from daily resting and genetic sequencing. Relevant for many sports.

Below is information on cloth and surgical masks and where to purchase them.

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Protect yourself from the new Variants

How to protect yourself from the new coronavirus strains Video 6 minutes
1-28-21 Two of my favorite experts: Dr. Linsey Marr at Virginia Tech is an expert on airborne transmission. Erin Bromage, PhD is a Comparative Immunologist and Professor of Biology (specializing in Immunology.

Lots of good tips on how to get better masks. There is a big difference between the quality of the mask being worn and the ability to filter out the aerosols. The goal is Protect yourself from the new Variants.

Full transcript and audio

Related posts from this blog

Should you wear two face masks?

Virus surges and more transmissible variants can significantly increase our risk of infection. Many experts are recommending wearing both a cloth and a surgical mask. Unfortunately, there is still a shortage of n95 masks, the “gold standard” for protection, with too many counterfeit masks.

Newer post with with lots of info and tips. Surgical and Cloth Face Masks – What to Buy and Where to Purchase February 4, 2021

Cloth mask on top. Surgical mask underneath.

Wearing two masks has become a hot topic since President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021. The Poet Laureate, a young woman, wore two masks. Pete Buttigieg and his husband both wore cloth masks over white surgical masks.

The problem with surgical masks is that they are not made to fit well around your face, especially on the sides,nose and mouth. Too much air goes in and out. They are designed to keep patients safe from nurses and doctors who are infected.  

Cloth face masks can fit very well as they are very flexible, can fit closely, and are easy to find.

What are experts saying?

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Face Masks and Covid Risks in Homes

Why should you use a face mask?

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, Covid-19 is spread by sharing breaths. When we breathe, water particles are released. The virus “attaches” to the water. The air-water particles are much larger and are easier to filter out than covid. A good visual example of what happens is exhaling when it is cold outside. Water droplets form in the air. Face Masks and Covid Risks in Homes is important to know about.

How tight the mask fits your face is very important. N95 masks are tight.  Surgical masks are loose. They protect the healthcare worker from giving bacteria or viruses to the patient during surgery.

The amount of virus exposure is a critical factor. The riskiest people are those who have symptoms such as coughing and sneezing. If infected, they expel large amounts of particles containing more virus.

What if you want more protection?

No face mask discussed in this post can keep outside air from coming in. You have to breathe the air to live.

To be safest, don’t let any person’s breath come inside your lungs. Wear a full body and head covering with oxygen supplied through a hose. The ultimate is a special containment room with no outside air coming in and air going out completely cleaned, used by pathogen researchers. Hoses run overhead from the air system to the researchers.

You may have seen recently on TV news that nurses and doctors caring for Covid patients sometimes use a portable device on their backs with long air hoses coming to their head and face coverings. They have complete body and head protection. I assume they use portable heavy-duty battery-operated air cleaners for the room air.

Which type of face masks to use inside homes

Click “continue reading” link for info about FDA approved n95 and surgical masks plus some info on cloth masks.

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New Mayo Clinic research: How Face Masks Reduce Risk

New, unpublished data from researchers at Mayo Clinic found that physical separation reduces the exposure of respiratory droplets. Three feet is helpful, but 6 feet separation reduces particle counts to near baseline levels. 11-24-20. This study quantifies that the closer you are to a person, the higher the risk to both people. How Face Masks Reduce Risk, especially if both people wear face masks.

Dr. Elie Berbari and Dr. Matthew Callstrom discuss mask study.

The findings strongly support the protective value and effectiveness of widespread mask use and maintaining physical distance in helping to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Mannequin experiment

This was an experimental study that emulated the production of respiratory droplets by using mannequins. Some were masked and other mannequins were unmasked. The study measured the spread of those droplets at various distances.

Researchers measured how effectively masks blocked the number of aerosol particles from a masked source. The study simulated an individual with a COVID-19 infection. They also simulated the risk of an individual contracting COVID-19, when they were masked.

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How face masks work: excellent animations

Watch the best visualization of the filtering capabilities of face masks at the microscopic level I have seen. You can scroll through the animations. Less than 5 minutes is required. There are references for more information.

With these animations, you can see how cotton and n95 mask filtering works. For example, you can see the smallest particles being bounced around by air molecules in a random zig-zag pattern, increasing the time they spend in the fiber forest and their chances of getting captured.

Tightly woven cotton outperforms most common fabrics. A nonwoven material like that of an N95 respirator is most effective.

Humans are visual. We can more easily understand if we can see something. But, the virus-containing particles are too small for us to see, even with a standard microscope. Now you can see the particles being trapped in cotton vs n95. How face masks work: excellent animations

I always assume everyone, including myself, has Covid, including family and friends. 50% of infected persons show no symptoms.

To watch the animation, click here

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A home is not always safe from Covid-19

From the first stay at home recommendations in March, we assumed that we were safe at home. We knew that Covid-19 transmission occurs within households. However, transmission estimates varied widely, and the data on transmission from children was limited. This CDC study shows that A home is not always safe from Covid-19.

Covid-19 (yellow) emerging from cells after attack

The research, part of an ongoing CDC-supported study, followed 101 people initially infected with Covid-19. Locations were Nashville, Tennessee, and Marshfield, Wisconsin, between April and September 2020.

What is useful from this report?

A 53% household infection rate, the study said, is higher than what has been documented so far. To date, related research has reported only a 20% to 40% infection rate.

Findings from a prospective household study with intensive daily observation for equal or greater than 7 consecutive days indicate that transmission of Covid-19 among household members was frequent from either children or adults.

Asymptomatic transmission

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National Mandatory Face Masks Can Prevent Covid-19 From Spreading

If the virus cannot get inside our lungs, it cannot infect us. The primary method of transmission is by human breathing. It is a respiratory virus. The virus is not alive. It is inert and “driven” to reproduce by spreading among humans. As fewer humans are available to infect, spreading will decline. It “waits” for us to give it an opportunity to spread. National Mandatory Face Masks Keep Covid-19 From Spreading.

Compared with other viruses, not many people
die from Covid, about 0.6%. The flu is about 0.01%. If more people died, we would be much more willing to wear face masks, avoid crowded interiors, etc. We are very lucky that a relatively low percentage of people die with Covid. The death rate for the 1918 Spanish Flu was 6.5%. SARS was 10%.


50% have no symptoms and don’t know they are infected.

Face Masks keep the virus from spreading and primarily keep other people safe if you are infected. Face Masks can protect you from infected people coughing and sneezing in your face.

Fall/winter surges is not new. They occurred in the 1919 Spanish Flu and is currently happening in Europe.

We are all waiting for a vaccine or multiple vaccines to become available. We will still need to wear face masks. Vaccines will not be available to everyone until mid- or late 2121. The transmission will decline as more people are vaccinated. The virus will probably always be around, such the flu viruses.  

Not everyone will be protected by a vaccine. We will still need to wear face masks. The measles vaccine is 97% effective with two doses. The flu vaccine is about 50% effective. If 100 people get Covid vaccine shots that are 50% effective, 50 will not be immune. If 50% of 100 people refuse to take the vaccine, 50 people will not be immune. That does not leave many that are resistant to infection.

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