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Do N95 Respirators Expire?

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There’s always a sense of urgency to increase preparedness in times when a protective mask is needed. In lieu of this, a lot of questions are being raised about the expiration of mask including an N95 respirator.

All face masks including an N5 respirator expire. All filtering face masks have an expiration date on the packaging.

An N95 filtering face mask respirator is an air-purifying respirator certified by NIOSH to have a filter efficiency level of 95% or greater against particulate aerosols free of oil and greater than 0.3 microns in size.

Examples of airborne contaminants that N95 respirators filter out include dust, fumes, mists and microbial agents such as tuberculosis bacteria and flu virus.

The shelf life of N95 respirators is 5 years from the date of manufacture if stored and transported under the following circumstances:

  • The storage conditions should be between 4ºC to 50ºC.
  • The relative humidity must not exceed 90%.
  • The packaging and all contents must remain dry, stored away from direct sunlight at all times.

To check on the expiry date of the respirator, you need to refer to the lot number printed on the respirator. There’s also the date of manufacture and best used before on the packaging. The product should be used before it expires. This will ensure that the components are 100% in top condition and effectivity.

Why do N95 Respirators expire?

N95 respirators expire since it’s less likely to be able to perform with its full effectivity after 5 years. After that period, each part like the strap could become brittle, the foam on the nose piece might lose its quality and the total condition of the mask could have degraded.

An expiration date is always in the packaging of N95 respirators in order to ensure the performance and level of effectiveness.

Make it a habit to check the packaging of your purchase of an N95 mask. You should first ensure it has all the necessary information about its production. This will prevent you from keeping and using an expired product.


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