Desiccants play a pivotal role in maintaining the dryness needed within packaging to ensure the integrity of a wide range of products in industries including food, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and more. These crucial substances are key to avoiding the risks of product degradation, spoilage, corrosion, and the formation of mold. The market unfortunately endures the rise of counterfeit desiccants, which are essentially fake or of inferior quality. These unauthorized imitations not only jeopardize the safety and durability of your products but could also entail severe repercussions for your brand reputation and customer trust. In this post, we delve into the world of counterfeit desiccants, outlining the dangers they present, how to spot them, and strategies for making sure you are using genuine desiccants.

What are desiccants?

Desiccants are materials specifically designed to absorb moisture, meant to help keeping various products dry. Their primary role is to shield them from various forms of moisture-related damage, such as spoilage, corrosion, and the growth of mold, thus ensuring the integrity and longevity of the products. Used across a wide range of industries – including food, pharmaceutical, and electronics – these substances are crucial to maintain the quality and lifespan of numerous items.

Commonly used desiccants include silica gel, clay, activated charcoal, calcium sulfate, and molecular sieves. These substances are remarkably efficient in dry control and can be encountered in several forms tailored to fit different packaging needs. Whether they are incorporated into sachets, embedded within canisters, packed into packets, or printed onto cards, desiccants are versatile in their utility. To enhance product safety, they are often paired with humidity indicators. These indicators offer a visual signal, typically through a color shift, to represent the current level of humidity, allowing an easy monitoring and maintenance of an optimal dry environment.

The rise of counterfeit desiccants

Counterfeit desiccants are fraudulent moisture-absorbing items masquerading as legitimate offerings in the market. Typically composed of inferior or repurposed materials such as sand or paper, these imitation can be dangerous due to potential contamination with toxic substances like cobalt chloride, which is not only harmful but also a known carcinogen. Predominantly available through online platforms or unauthorized vendors, fraudulent desiccants can closely resemble the authentic ones. Unfortunately, their poor functionality, limited lifespan, and heightened risk of tainting products make them a harmful choice.

These knock-offs are becoming prevalent largely due to the significant gap between the high demand for authentic desiccants and their limited supply. Essential in industries like electronics for safeguarding parts against moisture damage, they rely on materials such as silica gel and molecular sieves – which availability and affordability constrain production. Counterfeiters are capitalizing on this supply shortfall by providing cheaper and readily available alternatives.

The implications of using counterfeit desiccants are severe, affecting not only the integrity of what your are offering but also your brand’s reputation and customer safety.

Consequences of using counterfeit desiccants

The use of counterfeit poses serious and irreversible risks to your products, business reputation, and customer trust and safety. These fake desiccants may not adequately keep the item dry, leading to product spoilage, compromised efficiency, and potential warranty claims. Additionally, they might release trapped moisture, causing issues such as condensation, rust, and the growth of mold. There’s also the danger of fraudulent items containing toxic substances, potentially harming your customers’ health.

When it comes to your products’ performance, counterfeit desiccants can lead to major failures. They might cause electronic parts to short-circuit or become unreliable, affect the shelf life of food items, or even deteriorate the quality of cosmetics. The health implications of using fake ones cannot be overstated. Some might contain hazardous materials like cobalt chloride, which is associated with a range of health issues including skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even cancer. Moreover, the legal ramifications of selling products with counterfeit desiccants could be severe. Infringing on the intellectual property rights of legitimate manufacturers could lead to costly legal battles over trademark infringement and unfair competition. Consumer protection violations can also result in hefty fines and legal sanctions, while customer lawsuits could demand compensation for damages caused.

Identifying Counterfeit Desiccants

Genuine desiccants are synonymous with high-quality safeguards that align with rigorous industry standards and specifications. They undergo thorough testing and certification processes to confirm their efficacy, longevity, and safety.

Distinguishing between authentic and fake desiccants is crucial for maintaining product effectiveness. By observing certain characteristics and conducting simple tests, you can determine whether you’re dealing with the real deal or a fake desiccant.

Begin by examining the desiccants’ appearance and texture. Counterfeits may exhibit inconsistencies in shape, size, or color and might have patchy or absent printing. They could feel rough, brittle, or have a sticky residue. In contrast, authentic ones are characterized by uniformity, with clear printing that includes the brand, logo to ensure their authenticity, or batch information. They are typically smooth to the touch, firm, and devoid of any moisture.

Inspecting the packaging and labeling is another effective strategy. Fake products often arrive in subpar wrapping with signs of wear, such as rips, stains, or creases. Label details might be incomplete or contain errors; watch for incorrect product names, inaccurate ingredient lists, and missing specifications, as well as typos and inconsistent language. Authentic desiccants are packaged with care, featuring precise, comprehensive labeling and often include security measures like holograms, barcodes, or tamper-evident seals that can be authenticated by the manufacturer or distributor.

To confirm a desiccant’s authenticity, assess its performance. Counterfeits may underperform, failing to absorb moisture adequately or re-releasing it, which could lead to a color change or the development of an odor upon exposure to humidity. To test, weigh the desiccants before and after use, utilize a moisture meter or humidity indicator card, or compare them against a verified genuine sample. For definitive assurance, you can reach out to the manufacturer or distributor for verification of your desiccants’ authenticity.

Why do counterfeit desiccants exist?

The issue of counterfeit desiccants is a significant concern, impacting both industries and consumers. The question arises: why do these fake products come into the market anyway? We need to examine the driving forces and incentives that lead to manufacturing and distributing these knock-offs.

The motivation behind the production of counterfeit desiccants is, essentially, financial gain. Those who manufacture them are drawn by the substantial profits that can be earned either by selling these imitation products at lower prices than the authentic ones. Additionally, counterfeiters cut costs by opting for inexpensive materials instead of high-performance absorptive substances, and by avoiding security or regulatory tests.

At the core of the counterfeiting issue lies the imbalance between high demand and low supply for authentic humidity control solutions. Critical to various industries, particularly electronic parts, desiccants are essential for safeguarding products against the detrimental effects of moisture. Yet, the genuine production of these critical components is curtailed by both limited access to, and the high expenses associated with, raw materials like silica gel and molecular sieves. This discrepancy fuels an opportunity for counterfeiters to infiltrate the market with cheaper, quickly-produced options.

While facing these poor-quality desiccants, companies had to come up with efficient anti-counterfeit solutions. What better solution than creating and producing their very own desiccant sachets to add to their packaging options? That’s what the Australian company Swisse did, thus avoiding the risks of dealing with fake desiccant issues.

The Fight Against Counterfeit Desiccants

Combating the scourge of fake desiccants is a great challenge that demands the concerted efforts of various actors.

Regulatory bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are key organisations that establish and uphold the rules and standards governing the production, distribution, and use of desiccants, among other products. They are dedicated to assuring that these items are effective, safe, and of a high quality, thereby safeguarding public health and preserving the environment.

The battle against counterfeit goods is also a top priority for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of desiccants. These industry members are dedicated to protecting their brands, safeguarding their products, and ensuring the safety of their customers through a variety of critical measures. They indeed have to make sure their products are aligned with industry standards and expectations. They can do so with the use of advanced packaging and labeling technologies (holograms, barcodes, seals, or RFID tags) to allow authenticity checks. Rigorous testing and verification procedures are absolutely crucial to make sure the products are effective, safe and long-lasting. Providing and sharing information which enable the users to verify the desiccants authenticity has to be kept in mind when producing this kind of item.

Businesses seeking anti-counterfeit solutions have a powerful ally in Cryptoglyph. This innovative digital security tool, developed by AlpVision, offers a discrete yet effective layer of defense. Cryptoglyph’s technology involves a unique, imperceptible, marking, that can be applied seamlessly to printed materials, such as the surface of desiccant packaging or labels. The randomized pattern of micro-holes applied on the desiccant wrapping can be readily identified and authenticated using a simple smartphone app or scanner. Each Cryptoglyph marking is distinct, encrypted, and connects to a detailed database holding vital product information, including batch numbers, expiration dates, and provenance.

Cryptoglyph provides an uncomplicated, affordable authentication method for desiccants that doesn’t require extra tools, equipment, or extensive training. Customers can personally confirm product authenticity with their smartphones, before even opening or utilizing the desiccant. It enhances product traceability and transparency, offering insights into a product’s journey, whereabouts, and condition. Such an anti-counterfeiting solution enhance brand reputation and customer trust.


Authentic desiccants are precious in today’s industries. It’s crucial to examine the their look, packaging, labels, and functionality, as well as to confirm their legitimacy with the producer or supplier. Purchasing from unreliable or dubious sources, including online marketplaces or uncertified sellers might not be the best idea. Several checking points are essential to safeguard your merchandise and clientele from fake desiccants. Consider using dependable and verifiable packaging and labelling systems, such as Cryptoglyph by AlpVision. The threat of counterfeit desiccants is not to be overlooked. They could damage your products, endanger your business, and jeopardize customer trust. It’s within your power and responsibility to confront fake desiccants and defend your business’s integrity. Remain informed and proactive, ensuring that fake ones do not cause harm under your watch.


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