1. 3M & COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently asked questions about 3M and COVID-19

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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 visit 3M Medical - PPE Information and Guidance for more information.

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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.
  • Since January, we ramped up production of N95 respirators and doubled our global output to a rate of more than 1.1 billion per year – including 35 million a month in the United States. In the U.S., we expect to be producing N95 respirators at a rate of 50 million per month in June, a 40% increase from current levels.
  • 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. We have also filed civil lawsuits against multiple price-gougers and bad actors who have implied or stated an association with 3M to defraud purchasers; in most of those lawsuits, we seek injunctions to stop further bad conduct. If we recover monetary damages, we will donate those to COVID-19 relief efforts. We’re also, in coordination with e-marketplace operators, making referrals to law enforcement authorities, taking down websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings, removing false or deceptive social media pages, and sending cease and desist letters as a first step prior to taking further legal action.


    Please view the Fraudulent Activity, Price Gouging, and Counterfeit Products PDF linked here for more information.


    Additionally, if you’re in the U.S. or Canada and you’re concerned about any potential fraudulent or counterfeit activity, please contact us via our website linked here.

  • When properly selected and worn, any of 3M’s 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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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 6092X-series cartridges and 7000-series particulate filters, which feature hard cases that can be wiped down as part of your facility's infection prevention and disinfection protocols.


    Additional Resources:


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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, masks and hand sanitizer, directly with your primary distributor.
  • Those two models were made available to the general public for a brief period during 2009-2010 only, and they were discontinued in 2013. 3M™ Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860 and Aura™ Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+ are the current models that are similar to 8612F and 8670F. However, please note that 1860 and 1870+ are intended for use by Health Care professionals, not for the general public.

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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. We have also filed civil suits against certain price-gougers who have implied or stated an association with 3M; in those suits, we seek injunctions against further bad conduct as well as damages—any damages recovered will be donated to COVID-19 relief efforts. We’re also, in coordination with e-marketplace operators, making referrals to law enforcement authorities, taking down websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings, removing false or deceptive social media pages, and sending cease and desist letters as a first step prior to taking further legal action.


    We have created a new hotline for help in identifying authentic 3M products and ensuring products are from 3M authorized distributors. If you’re in the U.S. or Canada, please give us a call at 1-800-426-8688.

    We have created a new hotline for help in identifying authentic 3M products and ensuring products are from 3M authorized distributors. If you’re in the US or Canada, please give us a call at 1-800-426-8688.


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


    Please view the Fraudulent Activity, Price Gouging, and Counterfeit Products PDF linked here for more information.

  • To help customers identify and avoid inflated prices, we have published current single-case list prices for the most common 3M N95 respirator models sold in the U.S.


    Please view the Fraudulent Activity, Price Gouging, and Counterfeit Products PDF linked here for more information.

  • 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

    Please view the Fraudulent Activity, Price Gouging, and Counterfeit Products PDF linked here for more information.


    Additionally, if you’re in the U.S. or Canada and you’re concerned about any potential fraudulent or counterfeit activity, please call us at 1-800-426-8688 or contact us via our website linked here.


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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.

  • Since the initial COVID-19 outbreak, 3M has doubled our global output of N95 respirators to a rate of more than 1.1 billion per year, or nearly 100 million per month. In the United States, we are producing 35 million N95 respirators per month, with more than 90% going to healthcare workers and the remaining deployed to other critical industries such as energy, food and pharmaceuticals. We expect to be producing N95 respirators in the U.S. at a rate of 50 million per month in June, a 40% increase from current levels.
  • 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.
  • We appreciate that many people and organizations are doing everything possible to try and provide supplies to healthcare workers and first responders. We greatly appreciate your interest in working with us to respond to the dynamic situation around COVID-19, but we are unable to divert resources employed to accelerate our production of respirators to new collaborations with third parties on the creation of homemade masks.
  • 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.


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Product use and shelf life

Note: If you are a healthcare professional, please visit 3M Medical - PPE Information and Guidance for more information


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