CHICAGO — About 500,000 counterfeit N95 respirator masks have been seized in Chicago by Customs and Border Protection officers, federal officials announced Monday.

The shipment of masks from China was seized Sept. 10 at O’Hare International Airport, according to the federal agency. It said the masks were headed to a company in Manalapan, New Jersey. The masks are used to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Thirty were sent to a testing facility where it was determined that 10% of the respirators tested had a filter efficiency rating below 95%.

“These masks did not meet the safety standards outlined by the CDC, which puts the public at risk, jeopardizing the health and well-being of everyone,” said Shane Campbell, port director for the Chicago area.

Frontline workers, hospital officials and even the Food and Drug Administration say there is a shortage of the masks in the U.S. due to pressures on the medical supply chain.

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