1. 3M & COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently asked questions about 3M and COVID-19

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions you have asked with answers and links to direct you to more information.

Note: If you are a healthcare professional, please visit 3M Medical - PPE Information and Guidance for more information.

Top asked questions


Purchasing and production

  • KN95s are disposable respirators that are tested and certified to a China government standard (GB2626). The required filtration efficiency is very similar to that required for U.S. N95 disposable respirators; however, they are not approved by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). There are some respirators that have both the U.S. NIOSH N95 and the China KN95 approval on the same model.


    Many KN95 respirators have a construction called “vertical flatfold,” which is not as commonly seen in the U.S. These respirators are packaged flat, with a vertical fold down the middle, but open up into a cup shape.


    While N95 respirators feature headbands, KN95 respirators may feature either headbands or ear loops.


    KN95 respirators are typically designed to fit people with facial features common in China. As a result, some individuals with different facial features may not be able to achieve a satisfactory fit. U.S. workers may experience fit test pass rates that are lower than they are accustomed to. If a fit test cannot be conducted–or the wearer cannot pass a fit test–then these products should be used as a face covering/mask, not a respirator. If appropriate fit can be attained, KN95s can help reduce exposure to airborne particles at a level similar to N95 respirators.


    You can learn more about KN95 respirators here.

  • According to the U.S. CDC, here are some important things to look for in a non-medical reusable cloth face covering or mask:


    • It should have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
    • It should completely cover both the nose and mouth
    • It should fit snugly against the side of your face and not have gaps
    • It should not have exhalation valves or vents, which allow virus particles to escape
  • During this pandemic, we continue to rely on the healthcare supply chain distribution channel as this is best suited to reach customers in the most efficient manner. 3M recommends communicating and establishing your personal protection equipment needs, including respirators, masks and hand sanitizer, directly with your primary distributor.
  • Those two models were made available to the general public for a brief period during 2009-2010 only, and they were discontinued in 2013. 3M? Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860 and Aura? Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+ are the current models that are similar to 8612F and 8670F. However, please note that 1860 and 1870+ are intended for use by Health Care professionals, not for the general public.
  • We do not provide a break down by region, but we can tell you that we have taken additional measures to double our N95 and other respirator capacity again to 2 billion globally by the end of 2020.
  • As we stabilize the PPE deliveries to hospitals, our next priority will be the health care workers facing new risks as they provide services in health care settings such as dentistry, non-emergency surgeries, and orthodontics. We are working to expand our PPE offerings to oral care professionals.
  • According to the U.S. CDC’s guidance for people with underlying medical conditions, taking precautions when interacting with others is key. Precautions include wearing a cloth face covering in public settings but does not include using an N95 respirator as they are critical supplies that are being reserved for front-line healthcare workers and first responders. Learn more here.
  • In the U.S., employers are required to assess the hazards and risks faced by their employees and take steps to maintain a safe work environment, including providing PPE where needed. According to the U.S. CDC’s guidance for schools, recommendations include face coverings as source control, but do not include PPE such as respirators. You can learn more here.


    Additionally, we encourage you to review the guidance from relevant government agencies, such as the the U.S. OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work which may help you evaluate your decisions and better understand PPE requirements.


    We are doing all we can to meet the extraordinary need for PPE created by this worldwide pandemic. Please work with your employer to determine what PPE is suitable for your workplace and how to secure it through 3M authorized distributors and federal and state government agencies


    Additional resources provided by relevant government agencies:


Fraud, price gouging and counterfeit products

  • We do not – and will not – tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic. We’re working with law enforcement agencies around the world to aggressively pursue third parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. We have also filed civil suits against certain price-gougers who have implied or stated an association with 3M; in those suits, we seek injunctions against further bad conduct as well as damages—any damages recovered will be donated to COVID-19 relief efforts. We’re also, in coordination with e-marketplace operators, making referrals to law enforcement authorities, taking down websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings, removing false or deceptive social media pages, and sending cease and desist letters as a first step prior to taking further legal action.


    We have created a new hotline for help in identifying authentic 3M products and ensuring products are from 3M authorized distributors. If you’re in the U.S. or Canada, please give us a call at 1-800-426-8688.

    We have created a new hotline for help in identifying authentic 3M products and ensuring products are from 3M authorized distributors. If you’re in the US or Canada, please give us a call at 1-800-426-8688.


    We have also created resources to help people avoid inflated prices, detect fraud, and identify counterfeit products. Please visit our COVID-19 Fraud website to learn more.


    Additionally, if you have any concerns about potentially fraudulent activity please report them on our website linked here.

  • To help customers identify and avoid inflated prices, we have published current single-case list prices for the most common 3M N95 respirator models sold in the U.S.


    Please view the N95 Respirator Pricing PDF linked here for more information.

  • We recommend purchasing our respirators from 3M authorized distributors, as that offers the greatest assurance that you will receive authentic 3M products. In other words, we do not recommend purchasing respirators from unknown sellers on multi-party internet e-commerce platforms. Here are some tips to help avoid counterfeit products:


    • 3M respirators will be sold in 3M packaging, with model-specific user instructions accompanying the product
    • 3M respirators should not be sold individually, or without packaging (including user instructions)
    • 3M has strict quality standards, and therefore products that have missing straps, strange odors, blocked valves, misspelled words, etc. are likely not authentic 3M respirators

    Please view Avoiding Counterfeit Respirators PDF linked here for more information on how to avoid purchasing counterfeit products.


    Additionally, if you’re in the U.S. or Canada and you’re concerned about any potential fraudulent or counterfeit activity, please call us at 1-800-426-8688 or contact us via our?website linked here.

  • We have not increased the prices we charge for respirators as a result of this global crisis, and we will not increase our current prices for respirators being used to help address the pandemic. We do not – and will not – tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic. We’re working with law enforcement agencies around the world to aggressively pursue third parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. We have also filed civil lawsuits against multiple price-gougers and bad actors who have implied or stated an association with 3M to defraud purchasers; in most of those lawsuits, we seek injunctions to stop further bad conduct. If we recover monetary damages, we will donate those to COVID-19 relief efforts. We’re also, in coordination with e-marketplace operators, making referrals to law enforcement authorities, taking down websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings, removing false or deceptive social media pages, and sending cease and desist letters as a first step prior to taking further legal action.


    Please visit our COVID-19 Fraud website for more information.


    Additionally, if you’re in the U.S. or Canada and you’re concerned about any potential fraudulent or counterfeit activity, please contact us via our website linked here.


Product use and shelf life

Note: If you are a healthcare professional, please visit 3M Medical - PPE Information and Guidance for more information


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