N95 masks readily available in stores here: CASE

PHOTO: N95 masks readily available in stores here: CASE

SINGAPORE - In anticipation of the haze returning, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) has conducted a survey on N95 face masks to determine their availability in the market and to monitor the current retail prices.

The survey was triggered by feedback CASE received on the drastic increase in prices of face masks during the haze period last year, where the price of N95 face masks shot up to as high as $8 per piece.

N95 masks of good quality are certified by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to have at least 95 per cent filter efficiency. The leading brands of N95 face masks in the market are 3M, Kimberly-Clark and Paul-Boye. Their authorised retailers are Cold Storage, Guardian, NTUC FairPrice, Unity and Watson.

CASE conducted the survey from June 13 to 15 with a random sampling of 57 different authorised retailers island-wide.

The results showed that the N95 face masks are readily available at authorised retailers with unit prices ranging from $1.38 to $3.90, depending on the type of mask.

The most expensive face mask is the 3M 9210 model retailing at $3.90 each at a Guardian outlet in Woodlands and the cheapest mask is the 3M 9105 V-Flex model retailing at $11 for 8 pieces ($1.38 each) at a Unity outlet in Jurong East and Clementi.

Although there are a large variety of cheaper face masks offered for sale online or at unauthorised retailers, CASE said it would like to advise consumers to be cautious and refrain from purchasing from these unreliable sources, especially when the quality of the face masks is not assured.

In addition, N95 face masks sold in Singapore have not been certified for use by children by the US Food and Drug Administration. This is as the faces of children may be too small for the masks to fit properly.

Parents should take precautions to ensure that their children reduce their outdoor activities when the air quality is at unhealthy levels. For more information on the haze situation in Singapore, the public can visit www.gov.sg/haze.

"CASE is committed to protect the interest of consumers. We will continue to highlight any unfair/unsafe practices in the marketplace. At the same time, we also urge consumers to be more discerning and exercise caution to protect their own interests," it said in a media release.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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