Alert from 3M leads to discovery of counterfeit N95 respirators in Washington state

February 8, 2021

Acting on a notice from 3M about counterfeit N95 masks circulating in the national supply of Personal Protective Equipment, hospitals in Washington State submitted their masks to 3M for analysis. Late yesterday, 3M confirmed that at least some of the masks were not made by the company.

The Washington State Hospital Association alerted hospitals to the issue late Friday and asked potentially affected hospitals to pull the masks from their supplies while the 3M Fraud Department investigated. The masks in question were purchased by hospitals and by the Washington State Hospital Association to distribute to its members. 3M has flagged several lot numbers as potentially used by counterfeiters; these lot numbers are among the stock purchased by Washington State hospitals and by the hospital association.

The hospital association and several members are awaiting analysis of the remaining lots. At this point, the issue impacts dozens of hospitals across the state and the supply of hundreds of thousands of N95 masks.

“These masks had the appropriate paperwork and passed physical inspection and testing,” said Cassie Sauer, President and CEO of WSHA. “These N95s are precious resources we need to keep staff safe. It is reprehensible that counterfeiters are selling fake goods.”

N95 mask fraud is a significant global problem. 3M and other manufacturers are putting enormous resources into identifying and stopping it.

Weekly Hospital Media Briefing

WSHA will be available to answer questions about the counterfeit N95 issue during the regular hospital media briefing on Monday, February 8 at 11:00 a.m. If you would like to talk with someone more immediately, you can e-mail Cassie Sauer at

During Monday’s media briefing Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer will be joined by:

  • June Altaras, RN, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality, Safety, and Nursing Officer, MultiCare Health System
  • Shane McGuire, CEO, Columbia County Health System in Dayton
  • Dr. Ken Dietrich, Chief Medical Officer, Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma

Monday’s event is part of a series of weekly press briefings to provide an update on the efforts of hospitals to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This briefing is for media only. If you would like to join the briefing, please register by visiting–hqzspHdGxJjZbn6TANXWdpFKFQpqy. If you have questions about the briefing, please contact Beth Zborowski at or by calling at 208-412-3886.


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