1. 3M & COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about 3M and COVID-19

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions you have asked with answers and links to direct you to more information.

Note: If you are a healthcare professional, please email svoon@mmm.com for more information.

Top asked questions

  • An N95 respirator is not a mask. Certain disposable filtering facepiece particulate respirators (like N95s) are similar in appearance to many surgical/procedure masks. Healthcare workers use surgical masks to help protect the patient and sterile field from particles from the healthcare worker as well as to help protect the healthcare workers from high-pressure streams of blood. Respirators contain filter media and form a seal to the face and are designed to help reduce the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, including droplets that may contain bacteria and viruses. For more information, view the Respirators and Surgical Masks: A Comparison PDF linked here.
  • Yes, we continue to maximize production at our manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and around the world for all types of respirators.
  • We have not increased the prices we charge for respirators as a result of this global crisis, and we will not increase our current prices for respirators being used to help address the pandemic. We do not – and will not – tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic. We’re working with law enforcement agencies around the world to aggressively pursue third parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. As you may be aware, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) implemented the Maximum Price Scheme to control price increase of essential items throughout the third phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO). To report any irresponsible traders to the Ministry, please WhatsApp KPDNHEP at +60192794317.
  • When properly selected and worn, any of our elastomeric respirator facepieces – when used with an appropriate particulate filter – will help reduce exposure to airborne droplets or aerosols, including those that may contain virus or bacteria. Our half facepiece reusable respirator options include the 6000 Series, 6500 Series, or 7500 Series. All of these would require separate eye protection, per the CDC. Please note that our full facepiece respirators feature integrated eye protection. Additionally, you’d need to select an appropriate particulate filter, and one such option is our 2091 filters, which are recommended to be disposed after every shift.

Purchasing

  • During this pandemic, we continue to rely on the healthcare supply chain distribution channel as this is best suited to reach customers in the most efficient manner. 3M recommends communicating and establishing your personal protection equipment needs, including respirators and masks, directly with your primary distributor.

Fraud, price gouging and counterfeit products

  • We do not – and will not – tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic. We’re working with law enforcement agencies around the world to aggressively pursue third parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. As you may be aware, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) implemented the Maximum Price Scheme to control price increase of essential items throughout the third phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO). To report any irresponsible traders to the Ministry, please WhatsApp KPDNHEP at +60192794317.



    Additionally, if you have any concerns about potentially fraudulent activity please report them on our website link here.

  • In Malaysia, cup type, non-valve N95 respirators are products regulated by KPDNHEP and has a ceiling price of RM6.00 per piece. We have not raised the prices we charge for 3M respirators as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, but we cannot control the prices other dealers charge for 3M respirators.

  • We recommend purchasing our respirators from 3M authorized distributors, as that offers the greatest assurance that you will receive authentic 3M products. In other words, we do not recommend purchasing respirators from unknown sellers on multi-party internet e-commerce platforms. Here are some tips to help avoid counterfeit products:


    • 3M respirators will be sold in 3M packaging, with model-specific user instructions accompanying the product
    • 3M respirators should not be sold individually, or without packaging (including user instructions)
    • 3M has strict quality standards, and therefore products that have missing straps, strange odors, blocked valves, misspelled words, etc. are likely not authentic 3M respirators


Production

  • 3M is assessing all practical options to enhance our PPE manufacturing and supply chain capabilities, as well as, our associated product portfolios in order to further accelerate our ability to support COVID-19 response efforts.


    Please email us your idea, and your submission will be routed to an appropriate contact within 3M. When entering information, please provide an explanation to the relevance to COVID-19 as appropriate.

  • We are currently operating at maximum production to get respirators and other equipment from our plants to the doctors, nurses and first responders who desperately need them the most.
  • 3M does not have any excess raw materials available for sale to third parties. Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19, we have doubled our global production of respirators, and we are working to nearly double our capacity again, to almost 2 billion respirators globally, within the next 12 months. Our high-volume respirator production requires we use all our raw material supply to support our accelerated production.
  • Homemade masks do not serve as respiratory protection devices and may not provide any measurable exposure reduction. Unlike government-approved respirators, homemade masks are not designed and tested to reduce wearers’ exposure to airborne particulates. Tight-fitting respirators are designed to seal to the user’s face and are tested to meet minimum filtration efficiency requirements and other government regulatory standards. Homemade masks typically are not designed to seal to the user’s face and likely are not made of materials that are tested and proven to capture fine particles. The filter material used by respirator manufacturers undergoes special treatments to enhance electrostatic capture of fine particles. Homemade masks may serve other purposes. They could help wearers remember not to touch their nose and mouth, and it may help contain spit or phlegm expelled by the wearer, like covering a cough or sneeze with a face tissue.
  • Our Filtrete™ products are designed to be used in home HVAC systems. The filter material in a Filtrete™ filter performs very differently than an approved N95 respirator. It cannot achieve the fit or performance of a N95 respirator and modifying the furnace filter may damage the material and compromise the performance. 3M does not recommend or support the use of a Filtrete™ filter to make a respirator.


    For information on the Coronavirus and recommended protection products, please consult the CDC.


    For information on Coronavirus and airborne particles, visits the “Coronavirus and Important Things to know About Airborne Particles” article here.


Product use and shelf life

Note: If you are a healthcare professional, please email svoon@mmm.com for more information.


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