Razer is retracting its claim that the Zephyr mask uses ‘N95-grade’ filters

Razer has removed any reference to Zephyr and recently announced Zephyr Pro smart face masks including “N95-grade” filters from its website and other marketing materials. “The wearable itself is neither a medical device nor approved as an N95 mask,” a Razer spokesperson told Engadget. “To avoid any confusion, we are in the process of removing all references to ‘N95 Grade Filter’ from our marketing materials.”

The company’s website now says, “The Razer Zephyr is not an approved N95 mask, medical device, respirator, surgical mask, or personal protective equipment (PPE) and is not intended for use in medical or clinical settings.” After the change, Razer claims the Zephyr filters are 95 percent effective at filtering particulates and 99 percent effective against bacteria. The company told Engadget that it will also notify Zephyr owners of the modification.

The change comes after YouTuber Naomi Wu wrote a Twitter theme About wearables over the weekend and publications like PCMag Draw attention to the Razer label. In November, Wu published an extensive review and teardown of the Razer Zephyr that said the company’s marketing of the smart mask was “deceptive.” Wu reiterated these allegations after the company announced the new “Pro” variant of the Zephyr at CES 2022.

As Wu points out in the video, “N95” is an official certification given by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to respirators that filter at least 95 percent of airborne particles. It’s a label that includes an entire mask, not just a portion of it, and considers both fit and filtering. Neither the Zephyr nor the Zephyr Pro is listed on the agency’s website as a NIOSH approved respirator.

According to Wu, Razer made the change after pressure from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and NIOSH, a claim the company denies. “The clarification came from Razer ourselves and not from an outside entity,” the company told Engadget.

The timing of the reversal comes as public health officials in the United States and other countries have called on the public to wear surgical masks, N95 and KN95, as opposed to a simple cloth mask, to better protect themselves from the highly contagious omicron variant. The novel coronavirus strain has caused a spike in COVID-19 cases in most parts of the world, adding pressure to hospital systems that are already on the brink of overheating.

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