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Don't throw away your expired at-home COVID tests just yet

Posted at 10:10 PM, May 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-01 22:10:44-04

(SOUTHFIELD) MICH. (WXYZ) — If you have an expired at home COVID-19 test, you may want to hold on to it a little longer before tossing it out.

“COVID test expiration dates keep getting pushed out,” says Leo Friedman who owns ipromo, a manufacturing company that sells promotional goods.

Friedman says at home COVID tests are new and manufacturers are still learning the products true shelf life. Testing is proving they are more sustainable than originally assumed.

“So before you throw out your expired test look it up on the manufacturers website and 9 times out of ten the expiration date will have moved,” says Friedman.

So how do you know if your test is still good? One way is to go to the manufacturers website, and type in the COVID test lot number.

The same rule doesn’t necessary able for face masks. Experts say many people are unaware face masks have an expiration date, but they do. Typically, you can find them on the back or bottom of the packaging.

“The majority of the masks purchased at the beginning of the pandemic are expiring this spring,” says Friedman.

Many people and companies accumulated a surplus of masks during the pandemic. Friedman says its likely people will pull from the pile without checking dates, which can lead to waning protection.

“That process does break down over time,” says Dr Jonathan Lovy with Beaumont Health.

Dr. Lovy says the integrity of a mask can be compromised if used past the expiration date. But if you lost the box, how can you tell if your mask is no good?

“The loops are starting to get frayed the mask is fraying above the nose,” says Friedman who adds the texture of the mask will also feel more brittle.

However, Dr. Lovy does not recommend getting rid of them, saying some protection is better than none.