The COVID-19 global pandemic has unleashed an overwhelming flood of counterfeit respirators into the marketplace, especially N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), works tirelessly to identify these counterfeits, and NIOSH seeks assistance with developing improved tools to combat this problem. NIOSH is the federal agency dedicated to generating new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and to transferring that knowledge into practice to help workers. Within NIOSH is the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), which tests and approves N95 respirators and other respiratory products designed for occupational use. This challenge seeks your ideas for new approaches and technologies that help educate vendors and users about counterfeit respirators.
This two-phase challenge has a total prize purse of $145,000. Four Phase 1 winning teams will advance to Phase 2, where they will have over seven months to demonstrate their proposed approaches.
This challenge represents a real opportunity for the public to address counterfeit respiratory protection by reducing the number of fake N95 FFRs in the marketplace. This can be achieved if people grow more confident with recognizing authentic N95 FFRs and avoiding counterfeits.
Will you help us address this issue? If you have an idea for a new strategy that spreads the word about counterfeit respirators, please join our challenge to reduce counterfeit N95 respirators!