NIOSH Announces Winner of the Counterfeit N95 Challenge

NIOSH Announces Winner of the Counterfeit N95 Challenge

The contest focused on improving the detection of counterfeit N95 respirators.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has named the winner of the NIOSH Counterfeit N95 Challenge, a collaborative effort with NASA Tournament Lab and HeroX to improve the detection of counterfeit N95® respirators and ensure the safety of end users.

According to a release dated Nov. 30, the winning entry by Essayon Engineering is a dual-platform approach, featuring both a phone app and a website that cross-references respirators with a NIOSH Certified Equipment List (CEL). The app also includes a visual tool for users to compare pictures from manufacturers’ websites with the respirators, adding extra verification.

Although Essayon Engineering receives a $35,000 grand prize, three other teams received honorable mentions. Their contributions include a decentralized title recording system using QR codes to verify ownership, a cloud-based platform offering immediate authentication, and a registry where manufacturers can share compliance data to verify authenticity.

The three teams selected as honorable mentions will not receive monetary prizes but are invited to upcoming NIOSH partner activities to promote and share their solutions. HeroX, NIOSH and the winners will host a webinar on Dec. 7, 2023, to discuss these innovations.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

Product Showcase

  • Magellan X Pte Ltd

    Hesitate No More with SOL-X Connected Worker Health & Safety Solution

    According to the National Safety Council, work-related medically consulted injuries total 4.26 million in 2021 in USA alone. SOL-X solution prevents “human factors” safety issues by anticipating incidents and improving compliance workflows. Leverages digital technologies (IIoT, AI and analytics) to predict patterns from occurring and make informed decisions. Control Of Work - gets rid of tedious paperwork and experience digital workflows. Crew Protect - maximises safety and situational awareness with health trackers and situational indicators. Award-winning Intrinsically Safe SmartWatch – innovative features that enable near real-time visibility and connected well-being. Works well with major connectivity protocols like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Long-Range Bluetooth! 3

  • The MGC Simple Plus

    The MGC Simple Plus

    The MGC Simple Plus is a simple-to-use, portable multi-gas detector that runs continuously for three years without needing to be recharged or routinely calibrated after its initial charge and calibration during manufacturing. The detector reliably tests a worksite’s atmosphere for hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, oxygen and combustible gases (LEL). Additionally, it is durable enough to withstand the harshest treatment and environments, which is why it has an IP 68 rating. The MGC Simple Plus is also compatible with a variety of accessories, such as Gas Clip Technologies’ new GCT External Pump. Visit for more information. 3