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Ministry busts anti-air pollution mask scams during two-month crackdown

Over 1,000 online advertisements for anti-pollution masks have been blocked and sales banned after the government found they included false or misleading information.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Korean Intellectual Property Office conducted an inspection of anti-pollution masks that were sold online in May and June, and found a total of 1,125 cases of misleading product labelling. Of them, 437 involved false advertising, 8 false quality indications, and 680 false patent marks.


The misleading packaging includes masks for general use branded as respiratory protection masks for filtering out dust particles. There are currently 1,140 hygiene masks approved as medical supplies by the Drug Safety Ministry, which offer protection from harmful particulate matter and microorganisms.

The URLs to the product sale pages have been blocked, the Drug Safety Ministry said. The ministry also asked Korea Communications Standards Commission to take punitive measures against companies who used and carried misleading branding and advertising.

The intellectual property office found 450 cases where expired patent registration numbers were listed, 187 cases where the patent type was wrongly described, four cases of indicating patents when they were still under assessment and three cases of claiming patents that had been rejected.

The office has ordered sales of the products to be suspended.

By Kim Arin (