For further information about the NIOSH-approved specific N95 respirator masks, as well as approved manufacturers and distributors, refer to CDCs list of N95 Masks, which also provides model numbers. Not all N95 masks listed on the websites of approved manufacturers or distributors can be NIOSH-approved, so be aware of model numbers listed in the CDC N95 Mask List to make sure that you are ordering what you really intend to order. You still will want to ensure the N95 mask for industry is listed in this NIOSH-approved list, and will fit properly, securely over your face.
NIOSH only regulates products that are intended for adults – so, although N95 masks may not be an option for your children, protective KN95 or KF94 masks designed for smaller faces or children are an alternative. There is no N95 standard for children, but many manufacturers produce KF94 or KN95 masks specifically for them. Only N95 is approved for U.S.-based health care settings, and KN95 masks comply with standards set by China.
Because of major differences, only the N95 masks are approved for use in health-care settings in that country, although KN95 masks share many of the same protective properties. KN95s and KF94s are certified in China and Korea, respectively, offering protection similar to the N95s. Sometimes called N95 respirators, protective N95 masks are not to be confused with KN95 masks, which share a similar name, but are held to completely different standards. KN95 masks are designed to offer a protective effect that is closer to the one provided by an N95 respirator, which is regulated by CDCs National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
KN95 masks are Chinas equivalent to an N95 respirator in the United States. A Chinese government agency, similar to the US NIOSH, sets standards for KN95 masks in China. KN95 is a Chinese respirator standard, but those respirators are not tightly regulated by the Korean government, according to both Collins and Annie Miller, who runs the N95 Project, a non-profit that matches consumers with legit masks and other PPE. N95 masks are certified by the National Institutes of Health, and KN95s–the most widely available masks, according to CDC–are manufactured in China and conform to standards that are unique to China. In its guidance to consumers about face masks, the CDC notes that N95s and other N95 mask with niosh certification are the more protective options.
Masks have been a part of our routines for more than two years, but many Americans might have been confused about wearing a respirator such as an N95 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidance, suggesting N95s are most effective. For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Americans that respirators–N95s and KN95s, among others–offer better protection than cloth face coverings, stopping short of explicitly recommending one mask over another. To comply with the new federal mask guidelines, the best N95 masks are certified by the health watchdog NIOSH, which is available to buy online now. N95s, and their international equivalents known as KN95s and KF94s, are typically made from several layers of polypropylene, a synthetic fibre.