First responders say KN95 masks are not as advertised

BROCKTON, Mass. — The Brockton Police Department sent out a memo warning all of their officers about the Chinese-made KN95 masks, saying the masks aren’t really protecting them against this deadly virus.

Brockton is one of the cities in Massachusetts with the highest COVID-19 infection rates, second to Chelsea. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency provided the city’s first responders with KN95 masks that were shipped from China.

Brockton Police Chief Emanuel Gomes told Boston 25 News Monday: “Come to find out they weren’t as advertised. They were rated to be in the 90th percentile.”

An email update sent out to officers said that tests conducted by MIT researchers determined that “they should have a filtration efficiency of 95%, but they tested at 28.1%.″

“It puts the officers in a bad light, in a bad predicament,” said Gomes. "They can’t rely upon it.”

Officers aren’t the only ones who can’t rely on these masks.

“There is a fear, nervousness with us firefighters," said Richard MacKinnon Jr, the Union President for Firefighters in Massachusetts.

At least 12,000 firefighters across the state also have the KN95 masks made in China.

“People that should’ve been transported earlier, but because of the fear of the hospitals, people’s health is declining,” said MacKinnon.

MacKinnon says, because of the hospital fears, firefighters are now dealing with even more COVID-19 patients.

“We are seeing patients with respiratory distress, which puts our firefighters in harm’s way,” said MacKinnon.

While it raises concerns for first responders, the same KN95 masks were handed out by the Massachusetts Nurses Association 2 weeks ago.

The KN95 masks are FDA approved. They are still being used for first responders, but recommended as a backup by officials.

You can find information about the guidelines here and here.

Editor’s Note: Boston 25 News reached out to MIT and has not yet heard back.

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