The Razer Zephyr face mask has been confusing on whether it can be used as personal protective equipment or not. Here are the answers we found.
Last October, the Razer Zephyr face mask with RGB lighting hit the markets and people were very interested in the product being a cool alternative mask with the pandemic still going on—especially when the company mentioned how the masks used “N95-grade” filters.
I thought it was super cool too and would be great to go to work in or show it off on quick trips to the grocery store. However, recent news reports that Razer has begun to replace claims about the N95 rating, changing facts regarding how this cyberpunk-styled mask should not be addressed as personal protective equipment (PPE). So, what is the purpose of the Zephyr face mask then?
In previous claims, Razer had referred to the N-95 filters for having 99% bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE). The $100 face mask also had statements prior to December 10, 2021, that cited it “offer[ed] the same functionality and adequate protection due to its 99% BFE rating.”
A lot of the heavy backing for this face mask was that the Razer Zephyr had a really promising filtration system, and it was classified as a face mask since being introduced at CES 2021 as Project Hazel. It is no wonder a lot of people could have easily considered this a part of PPE.
With more rising criticism from those who have tried the mask, Razer has gone to change what the filters are called, now referring to them as “air purification filters.” On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Razer tweeted out “The Razer Zephyr and Zephyr Pro are not medical devices, respirators, surgical masks, or personal protective equipment (PPE) and are not meant to be used in medical or clinical settings.” This was also added as an answer to the company’s FAQ section that read, “Will the Razer Zephyr protect me from Covid-19?”
So, is the Razer Zephyr just an air purifying mask now? On the same day Razer tweeted out to dispel their N95 claims on the mask, they also published a blog titled “The Science Behind Razer Zephyr.” The blog began talking about how they worked alongside “mask experts, health professionals, and engineers to place humans at the forefront of our wearable air-purification technology.” There is nothing mentioned about the current pandemic or the recent new strains like Delta or Omicron.
YouTuber, Naomi Wu, was just one of the many cases that called out Razer for misusing the term of the Zephyr masks using N95-grade filters when it was not the case. They bring up many valid background information points, such as how the Zephyr mask is not certified by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Even though the wording has been changed, Wu is still upset as customers who have already obtained the masks and used them have already been compromised. Wu stated, “Media outlets have labelled it an N95 mask, immune-compromised individuals and healthcare workers all over social media are calling it an N95 mask.”
With the upcoming release of the Razer Zephyr Pro that adds voice amplification, perhaps there will be more updates to whether they have done more tests to declare the mask as PPE, but for now, it appears that the mask is just an “air purifier” and should not be used as a method to help against COVID-19—as it has not passed the required tests nor received certifications that other medical masks have. The Verge also conducted an interview with the Associate Director of Product Marketing, Jeff Sandoval, which goes more in-depth on the Razer Zephyr face mask.