Do N95 masks expire?
Unfortunately, they do. Almost all N95 masks including from top brands like 3M and Moldex do expire. They always put “Use By” or “Expiration Dates” on their packaging.
For example for 3M, It established a shelf life for all of their filtering facepiece respirators. Right now, some models already contain shelf life information and storage conditions.
The expiration dates may vary according to respirator type, filter media, other materials used in construction, and date of manufacture.
On 3M’s disposable respirators, the shelf life information can usually be found on the side or bottom of the packaging. You can find an hourglass icon will be nearby to help you identify the expiration date.
The usual expiry dates of 3M’s N95 masks are a maximum of five years from the production date. The storage conditions can also prolong its shelf life to the maximum. The masks need to be stored in their original packaging.
Moldex too closely practices placing the expiration dates on all their N95 masks. This will assist the users to use the product before it expires.
Storing N95 masks beyond their expiration will affect their performance to the fullest.
Don’t let an expired disposable N95 mask be threatening to your protection rather than be a safety solution. An expired mask can endanger your safety instead of keeping you safe from hazardous airborne pollutants and particles.
Here is what you can do to be able to store your N95 masks properly.
Always store N95 masks in their original packaging
Keep N95 masks away from contaminated areas, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals
For companies using N95 masks, have efficient and good inventory management practices of your N95 masks on stock and that includes putting the nearest to expire in front of the shelf so it will be used before it becomes expired and useless.
For more information, please read our in depth article about the best N95 face mask for coronavirus.
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