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New guidelines for producers of Covid-19 face coverings

The CCPC has warned against claims that these items protect the wearer from Covid-19.

Image: Shutterstock

NEW PRODUCT SAFETY guidance for Covid-19 face coverings for use in the community have been published.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has said it has received a large number of requests in recent weeks from importers and businesses for details on the regulatory requirements that apply to the various forms of masks currently in use.

Current government advice is that wearing a face covering on public transport, in supermarkets or other situations where it is difficult to practice social distancing may reduce the spread of the disease in the community.

The new guidance explains the difference between the various masks types – medical/surgical, PPE and ‘barrier face masks’ – and the associated regulatory requirements within the CCPC’s remit. 

The government has requested that PPE masks and medical/surgical masks, which are of a higher regulatory standard than cloth face coverings, be reserved for use in healthcare settings 

The CPPC has said producers of cloth face coverings must still ensure that their masks are safe and compliant before selling them to consumers. 

Producers of these products have been warned that they should not market these items as either personal protective equipment or medical devices.

Packaging, labelling or advertising must not contain claims that they protect, or are intended to protect, the wearer from viruses such as Covid-19. The commission said such claims could mislead consumers and be considered offences under consumer protection and product safety law.

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“Businesses must always provide accurate and complete information about the products they sell,” Isolde Goggin, chair of the CCPC said.

“Businesses should be aware that providing false information about a product is a misleading commercial practice under consumer protection law and the CCPC has statutory powers to investigate and if necessary take enforcement action to address these practices.

“We encourage any consumer who believes that they may have been misled by business or provided with an unsafe product to contact us by visiting ccpc.ie. We will take action where we see businesses not complying with legislation.”

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