According to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Apple donated over nine million N95 masks to healthcare professionals. Other tech companies like Facebook have also donated stockpiles of masks.
For those wondering where all these N95 masks are coming from, it turns out that the state of California enacted a law requiring companies to provide respiratory equipment to their employees due to the massive wildfires that have engulfed Northern California for the past few years.
California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted the regulation in 2019, according to CNBC. The regulation says that an N95 filtering facepiece respirator is the minimum level of protection for wildfire smoke.
The ongoing viral outbreak in the United States and other countries has led to a shortage of N95 masks, and there have been reports of healthcare workers doing their jobs without adequate protection due to the supply issues.
Apple has more than 90,000 employees in the United States, but only a fraction of those work at its headquarters, offices, and retail locations in California. It’s not entirely clear why Apple had such a large stockpile of masks, but the available supply will be welcome by hospitals in dire need of protective equipment.