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Swiss flag up faulty respiratory masks

Two Swiss bodies have opened investigations into importers and dealers of defective masks imported at the height of the Covid crisis. 

The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (BFU) and Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) said on Friday that more than 60 percent of the “FFP” respiratory masks they tested in June were defective. 

The FFP masks, which can be recognized by their curved shape, are used notably in the health, agriculture and construction sectors. They should not be confused with the rectangular hygiene masks that people commonly wear on public transport, said the two organisations. Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, is responsible for monitoring them. 


The federal government eased import conditions for personal protective equipment at the beginning of April in response to the pandemic. Importers of respiratory protection masks also benefited from the simplified testing. 

However, SUVA and the BFU noticed that “numerous defective products had come into circulation”. Because they have a legal mandate for market surveillance of respiratory masks, they carried out tests in a SUVA laboratory in June. Around 60 of the products available in Switzerland, most of which are marked KN95, were tested.  

Recalls or sales bans are planned for the defective products. In addition, the authorities call on all stakeholders to be more careful. “We recommend that masks be purchased in speciality medical stores or from recognised dealers,” the agencies said. Most of the masks tested were purchased online, according to Reuters.