Federal authorities seized more than 20,000 counterfeit N95 face masks that arrived in Boston from Hong Kong this month.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the International Cargo Port in Boston confiscated a shipment of 43 boxes arriving from the Chinese region on Sept. 2 that appeared to hold counterfeit N95 respirator masks, according to a statement from the federal agency.
Specialists in apparel, footwear and textiles determined the items were in fact counterfeit and valued the 20,400 masks at $163,200, CBP’s statement said.
“Counterfeit personal protective equipment puts frontline workers and the general public’s health at risk,” said Michael Denning, director of field operations for the CBP’s Boston field office. “CBP Officers and our trade teams are trained to identify and intercept these dangerous goods before they can do harm to our communities and the American consumer.”
CBP claimed that certain organizations are attempting to exploit the limited supply of and increased demand for personal protective equipment as well as pharmaceuticals and other medical goods required to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Criminals are also apparently smuggling and selling counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved COVID-19 test kits, unproven medicines and substandard hygiene products through the online marketplace, according to the federal agency.
“To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods,” CBP said. “The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.”
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