During this global crisis, demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to far exceed supply for the entire industry. We continue working with governments, health agencies, distributors and others to prioritize supplies to the most critical customer and public health needs.
We are grateful for the work 3Mers are doing to support the public health response and are taking actions to help protect and support them, including offering remote work when possible and providing robust safety protocols in our facilities. The safety of our employees and the public, including health care workers and first responders fighting COVID-19, is our highest priority.
U.S. and global demand for PPE continues to far exceed supply for the entire industry. Due to ongoing protocol changes and facility use requirements, some facilities are needing more than 40X from prior years.
3M is focused on supplying PPE to healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers, as well as providing limited support to industrial customers.
To help reserve critical supplies of surgical masks and N95 respirators for healthcare workers and other critical first responders, the U.S. CDC recommends the general public wear face coverings in public settings, in addition to physical distancing.
Respirator plants are running 24/7 in response to demand.
In the first six months of 2020, 3M has supplied 800 million respirators around the world, with half provided to the U.S.
Increasing global respirator production capacity to over 2 billion by end of 2020.
Collaborating with companies to develop personal protective equipment and other tools being used in the fight against COVID-19.
Working with governments to break down trade barriers and direct respirators to serve areas of the world most in need.
Maximized production of other solutions used in response to COVID 19, including biopharma filtration, hand sanitizers and disinfectants.
Since the outbreak, 3M has responded with cash and product donations – including respirators, surgical masks and hand sanitizer – through local and global humanitarian aid partners.
Supporting the agency providing food, shelter and rent assistance to vulnerable people globally.
Below is a list of the most frequently asked question we have received during the COVID-19 pandemic, with answers and links to direct you to more information.
A non-medical face covering or face mask is not the same as a surgical mask or a respirator. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. CDC says surgical masks and respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for health care workers and other first responders.
A non-medical face mask–such as a reusable cloth mask or a disposable mask–may help capture some respiratory droplets expelled by the wearer, which could help protect those around you as you breathe out, talk, cough, or sneeze.
Surgical masks are used by health care workers as a barrier to help protect them from high-velocity streams of liquids, such as blood, that they may be exposed to during certain medical procedures. Surgical masks also help capture some particles and droplets expelled by the wearer, such as those that may contain viruses and bacteria.
An N95 respirator or similar respirator is intended to seal tightly to the face, covering the mouth and nose, and can filter at least 95% of airborne particles, including those that may contain viruses and bacteria. N95 respirators play a crucial role for health care workers, first responders and other essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to maintaining 6 feet of physical distance, the U.S. CDC currently recommends “wearing non-medical cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” These face coverings are not the same as a surgical mask or a respirator.
According to the U.S. CDC, people who should not wear a face covering/mask include children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or has a related health condition, and anyone who can't remove a face covering/mask without help.
Face coverings/masks are NOT a substitute for a government-approved respirator and should not be relied upon for respiratory protection (wearer exposure reduction).
At this time, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not made recommendations for respirator use by the general public. The CDC has recommended use of masks (not respirators) by members of the general public. More information on this can be found here.
As this is an evolving situation, we highly recommend that you consult local authorities and the WHO and CDC websites frequently for the most up-to-date information. Respirator use by the general public can be found here.
We continue to prioritize critical health care needs while supporting the broader opening of the economy. We are working to distribute respirators for use by workers who are returning to the workplace, while ensuring front-line healthcare workers have the PPE they need to effectively respond to COVID-19. Please work with your employer to determine what PPE is suitable for your workplace and how to secure it through 3M authorized distributors and federal and state government agencies.
Proper selection and use are key to utilizing respirators to help reduce exposure to airborne contaminants. Find Technical Bulletins, How to Videos, Fit Testing Resources and more information to help you protect your employees and yourself.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented demand for 3M products. It’s also led to unacceptable and unprecedented numbers of bad actors seeking to take advantage of the situation through fraud, counterfeiting and price-gouging. 3M has launched a global effort to combat fraud and price gouging and help protect the public against those who try to exploit the this unprecedented demand.
Consult the sources below for the most current information, guidelines and recommended precautions.