Low-grade Masks Purchased by Bulgaria Reach Germany via Fake Certificates

Atanas Tchobanov

Poor quality Chinese respiratory masks from the manufacturer Ryzur have been distributed to teachers in the German province of Baden-Württemberg, SPIEGEL wrote. According to an investigation by the renown German edition,these masks had false certificates from the DEKRA lab and must be recalled immediately. The German authorities, however, were unaware of the fraud.

The Bulgarian government purchased with European funds one million units of the same masks in May 2020. Bivol revealed then that these masks had the lowest filtration rating, according to tests performed by a US assessment laboratory. It has has tested 92 of models of Chinese masks and has given Ryzur the lowest rating – a maximum filter efficiency of 39.9% instead of the expected maximum of 95% /see here/. Actually, this mask does not at all protect from coronavirus. The full report of the study can be seen here.

The same fake masks had reached German teachers this fall, displaying a test seal from the respected DEKRA laboratory. But DEKRA Director Jörg-Tim Kilisch stated that these masks had not been tested by his laboratory and “should not be distributed under any circumstances”.

“Masks that have already been distributed must be removed immediately,” Kilish said.

The Ministry of Social Affairs in Stuttgart procured the masks while the Ministry of Culture was in charge of distributing them. SPIEGEL has approached both ministries for comment and both have denied distributing substandard masks. It turned out that officials were not aware that the DEKRA seals had been forged.

The Bulgarian experience with these masks is even more outrageous, as they were advertised as medical masks and this is written in the contract for their purchase, which Bivol has in its possession. However, the masks delivered by aircraft were not medical, according to the GB19083-2010 standard /see here/, but ordinary disposable particulate respirator masks, according to the GB2626 standard /see here/, not suitable for use by healthcare professionals.

The masks ordered by Bulgaria also had fake stamps from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European quality CE. The forgery did not prevent their use. The masks were distributed to employees of the Interior Ministry, the Customs Agency and other “frontline” institutions, despite the established facts about their ineffectiveness and false documentation.

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