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The government celebrated the arrival of the largest Antonov An-225 aircraft a week ago. TVP covered the “ceremony” live. The event was attended by the former prime minister, ministers and PiS party members. The only information released to the public was that seven million face masks had arrived from China.

KGHM is proud of the face masks

It is not known exactly what equipment was bought, from whom and for how much. The questions asked by Gazeta Wyborcza remain unanswered.

The president of the board of KGHM Polska Miedź, Marcin Chludziński, announced on Twitter that the masks imported from China "have all the necessary certificates to be safely used in hospitals."

He attached photos of documents to the tweet, revealing the name of one of the companies that produced the masks. The company is Guangdong Nafei Industrial Holding Co. Ltd., which works in the paper production industry. The CE certificate for face masks was issued by the Italian company Ente Certificazione Macchine (ECM).

lądowanie Antonowa AN 225 Mrja ze sprztem do walki z koronawirusemlądowanie Antonowa AN 225 Mrja ze sprztem do walki z koronawirusem Fot. Dariusz Borowicz / Agencja Gazeta

The alleged certificates of ECM are notoriously falsified by Chinese manufacturers. On April 3, ECM published the statement: "We are not a notified body in the field of personal protective equipment, therefore we cannot and do not issue any CE certificates (...). The use of the name of our company is a fraud and abuse, and we are taking steps to track and report all false certificates in circulation."

Goods that are brought to the European Union must comply with its laws. Personal protective equipment must comply with the essential requirements of Regulation (EU) 2016/425, and thus be absolutely marked with the CE certificate. Paolo Bernardoni from ECM admitted the certificate that Chludziński showed on Twitter is basically fake.

"It seems that the document is issued by our company, but it was issued on a ‘voluntary’ basis and it is not a CE certificate," Bernardoni wrote to us.

KGHM threatens Gazeta Wyborcza with court

We tried to clarify the matter with KGHM. Lidia Marcinkowska, head of communication of KGHM Polska Miedź, assured us of the authenticity of the certificates.

Then, instead of answers to our questions, we received threats from Marcinkowska: "All ordered and imported products have a set of documents necessary for admission to trading in the European Union (...), in case of providing false information, we will be forced to take legal steps to prevent violation of the Company's  rights".

No tests in hospitals

The State Central Institute for Labor Protection (CIOP) is responsible for ensuring compliance of imported goods with EU standards. The problem with documents issued by the ECM was recognized a long time ago.

- Ente Certificazione Macchine is not authorized to issue EU type-examination certificates that entitle the manufacturer to CE certificates for these products. Often, certificates issued by this company have been added to our assessment. We have always informed in such cases that these certificates do not confirm the compliance of personal protective equipment with the essential requirements of Regulation (EU) 2016/425. Without testing the basic protective parameters of the offered products, there is no guarantee of an adequate level of protection - says prof. Katarzyna Majchrzycka, head of the Personal Protection Department of CIOP.

According to the information gathered by "Wyborcza,” immediately after arriving to Poland, Chinese face masks went to health care facilities right away. They have not been tested by anyone for compliance with EU standards, which means that they are not effective and safe. This was also confirmed in Tuesday's Newsweek article .

-  Maybe everything is fine and the masks actually meet the standards, but also it might be the case that their effectiveness is equal to drinking holy water. Without proper research, we simply do not know - says one of the CIOP inspectors.

***
Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about the coronovirus pandemic for you.

They are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities. They work on the ground, reporting from hospitals and airports.

We have decided to open online access to our news stories and special guides focused on the issue of public health, for free.

The access to information should be equal for all.

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