The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has named three companies producing poor quality face masks in large numbers.

In a statement, Kebs said the entities, located in Nairobi, have been operating without certification and their products are not effective.

The three are Wandas General Supplies, Arax Mills Ltd and Hela Intimates EPZ Ltd.

“In pursuit of its consumer protection mandate, Kebs carried out countrywide surveillance on surgical face masks, which established that some unscrupulous manufacturers and economic operators are manufacturing and or offering for sale the below listed substandard face masks,” read the statement in part.

Consequently, the firms have been ordered to discontinue manufacturing and offering for sale any face masks.

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The manufacturers will also be required to recall all the substandard masks from the market and institute corrective actions, whose effectiveness shall be confirmed by Kebs before the suspension of the standardisation mark permits is lifted.

“The use of substandard medical face masks, or even misuse of the masks, is highly risky, because it gives a false sense of protection thereby increasing the risk of exposure.”

In addition,the quality watchdog noted that it has developed the following standards on facemasks:

(a) KS 2636: 2016: Kenya standard specification for surgical masks;

(b) KS 2409-6:2018: Healthcare wastes management commodities – Specification for filtering face masks that protect against particles;

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(c) KPAS 2917:2020 – Reusable cloth mask – Specification.

The regulator asked the public to collaborate with them in exposing “compromised face masks”.

“Kebs also urges the public to notify the organisation as and when they find these products in the market through our toll-free number 1545.”

Three months ago, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe issued a gazette notice compelling all citizens to put on face masks whenever in public places following the outbreak of Covid-19.

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Robert Mwangi

I am a professional journalist trained at Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, with experience in reporting; Current Affairs, Human Interest and General News. Let's connect and engage on Facebook ( Journalist Robert Mwangi) and Twitter (@robertmwangi254)