This December 2020 image provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows counterfeit N95 surgical masks seized by ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Credit: ICE

AUGUSTA, Maine — Tens of thousands of high-grade masks distributed to health care workers and others across Maine may be fake and should be recalled, the state said Friday.

Approximately 161,000 N95 respirators purchased by the state and sent to school nurses, health care facilities and some state workers and two million more in state warehouses need to be recalled, according to a Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services release.

The masks are typically distributed to health care workers and require fittings to be used properly. The recall affects two different models of 3M respirators, and it is unclear whether they meet federal standards for use, but there is a “significant risk” that the masks may be counterfeit.

The majority of the masks were sent to 55 school districts for nurses and other staff, according to the release, for a total of 140,000. Department of Health and Human Services employees with patient-facing jobs received 18,000 masks, while 64 health care facilities received 3,000. The state is advising those masks be set aside until an investigation into the issue is finished.

Maine is working to replace the potentially fake masks. The Maine attorney general’s office will seek reimbursement if the products turn out to be fraudulent.