Mask manufacturers urge Biden to bring PPE manufacturing to US

A group representing 26 U.S. mask manufacturers sent a letter to President Joe Biden this week urging him to create policies to boost domestic manufacturing of personal protective equipment.

The May 11 letter, from the American Mask Manufacturer’s Association, warns  China is selling masks in the U.S. at well below their actual costs, making it “impossible” for U.S. manufacturers to compete.

“As a result, 260 million American-made masks sit in U.S. warehouses unused today. If this remains unchanged, 54 percent of our production will go offline in 60 days and 84.6 percent in less than a year,” the letter states.

The group is urging President Biden to mandate that domestic stockpiles carry only masks made in the U.S. It also asks for a rule requiring federally funded hospitals to purchase at least 40 percent of masks from domestic manufacturers by 2023 and to remove the FDA’s emergency use authorization of masks made by non-U.S. manufacturers. Mask manufacturers also asked the president to consider purchasing the more than 260 million masks sitting in their warehouses to rebuild the Strategic National Stockpile.

“We need to protect ourselves from other pandemics in the future and other problems where we need American manufacturing,” Brain Wolin, CEO of Protective Health Gear, a manufacturer based in Paterson, N.J., told NBC New York. He added that he’s shocked his company has not gotten a government contract for PPE after political leaders pleaded for more domestic medical supply manufacturing last year.

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