Masks donated by Apple and Facebook for health workers were stockpiled after wildfire regulations


When large tech companies including Apple and Facebook announced this week that they’d be donating stockpiles of protective masks to health workers around the world, some people may have wondered why they had them in the first place.

Executives said they had them in storage because of the recent spate of wildfires in California. They were required to have them by law.

In 2019, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted a regulation forcing employers to provide respiratory equipment, including N95 masks, for workers when the Air Quality Index, or AQI, reaches unhealthy levels.

After it was announced Apple was donating a large supply of masks, The Usual Suspects trotted out, conspiracy hats in hand, trying to figure out why Apple was “hoarding” masks. Well, here’s the explanation.