Published on: 14h01 HAE, the 1st of April 2021 | Update: 14 h 17 BST, the 1st of April 2021

Scientists have found evidence that some face masks sold and used by members of the general public contain toxic chemicals.

Preliminary tests have revealed traces of a variety of compounds which are severely limited for health and environmental reasons

This includes formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause watery eyes; a burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat; cough; wheezing; and nausea

Experts fear the presence of these chemicals in masks worn for extended periods of time could lead to unintentional health issues

Evidence obtained by Ecotextile News and shared with MailOnline reveals that although masks must meet specific standards, not all do

Masks have been imposed across much of the world because they are a very effective way to prevent the transmission of coronavirus particles

But face coverings designed for use by the general public are unregulated and do not meet the same standards as medical grade PPE.

Experts fear that the presence of these chemicals in masks worn for extended periods of time could lead to unintentional health problems In March, the UK government issued a notice saying children and teachers should wear masks at school

On the picture, a GCMS chromatogram of chemicals and compounds found on a face mask Data comes from the unique analytical technique developed by Dr. Dieter Sedlak

Professor Michael Braungart, director of the Hamburg Environmental Institute, performed tests on masks that had caused rashes.

“What we breathe through our mouths and noses are actually hazardous waste”, said Professor Braungart.

Formaldehyde is the chemical that gives off the odor «clean» when a new pack of masks is opened He also found aniline, a known carcinogen

‘We found formaldehyde and even aniline and noticed that unknown artificial fragrances were applied to cover up the unpleasant chemical odors of the mask, did he declare.

‘In the case of blue surgical masks, we found cobalt – which can be used as a blue dye

“ Generally, we have a chemical cocktail in front of our nose and mouth that has never been tested for toxicity or long term health effects ”, did he declare.

Professor Michael Braungart, director of the Hamburg Environmental Institute, performed tests on masks that had caused rashes. “What we breathe through our mouths and noses are actually hazardous waste”, did he declare.

Dr. Dieter Sedlak, managing director and co-founder of Modern Testing Services in Augsburg, discovered other chemicals with its own unique testing method

Fluorocarbons are toxic to human health and scientists recently called for them to be banned for non-essential use

This group of chemicals was featured in Mark Ruffalo's recent hit movie ‘Dark Waters’ where an entire city's water supply has been polluted by chemical giant DuPont.

'Honestly, I didn't expect PFCs to be found in a surgical mask, but we have special routine methods in our laboratories to easily detect these chemicals and identify them immediately. It's a big problem ”, said Dr Sedlak

‘It appears to have been deliberately applied as a fluid repellant – it would work to repel the virus in the form of aerosol droplets – but the PFC on your face, on your nose, on the mucous membranes or on the eyes is not. good’

She did not wear a mask at work but wore gloves She started to suffer from a rash that itchy and burning

His rashes disappeared quickly, but when working in a Covid-19 department in April 2020, the dermatitis has returned

Symptoms started a few hours after prolonged use of a polypropylene surgical mask («plastic») particular

Researchers and mask makers believe that «traces of formaldehyde impurities» in the masks were the cause of the relapse

Doctors wrote in their case study: “ Because formaldehyde is a frequent contact sensitizer, and given that healthcare workers, patients and consumers now often have to wear surgical masks (polypropylene) at work and in the public environment, similar cases could be expected in the future

‘To offer safer alternatives, contact sensitizers potentially present in face masks, and associated medical devices, should be labeled, or at least be easily recoverable as in the present case’

On the picture, (A) a nurse, wearing a polypropylene surgical mask, (B) who has developed rosacea-type allergic contact dermatitis due to the formaldehyde in the mask; (C) the patch test positive for formaldehyde revealing his allergy to the chemical

PFCs are commonly used in textiles to add a protective coating to items like backpacks and jackets, but are not intended to be inhaled

The PFC concentrations found on the masks are within the safe limit of 16 mg / kg, noted Dr Sedlak, but when placed on a mask, a few millimeters from a person's mouth, the exposure level exceeds the safe limit over time.

The two academics say their work is not enough to conclude that all surgical masks are unsafe or comparable, but think that some masks in circulation are of concern

Face coverings designed to be worn by the public are not classified as PPE and therefore are not subject to the same level of control as those intended for use by healthcare professionals

Guidelines for their use and quality are determined by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial strategy

Face coverings designed to be worn by the public are not classified as PPE and therefore are not subject to the same level of control as those intended for use by healthcare professionals

However, the responsibility for ensuring that the masks meet the stated criteria rests with the mask manufacturer and its local authorities.

But instead of having to meet medical quality standards and go through regular quality checks, these covers should only meet general safety laws.

«General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR) defines the responsibilities of producers and distributors of these products», indicates UK government website.

China was the world's largest mask maker before the pandemic and has consolidated that position amid the Covid-19 outbreak, doing 85% of all masks

During the first five months of 2020, for example, more than 70000 new companies have registered to manufacture or sell face masks in China, as companies seek to cash in on the virus.

Growing demand for these products has raised concerns that masks are being recklessly manufactured and that opaque supply chains in China are raising new concerns.

Canada recalled millions of masks distributed to schools last week, government transport workers and child care centers

Health Canada warned they could be toxic to the lungs after being asked to inspect the coatings for safety

The gray and blue masks are identified by the code SNN200642 and come from the supplier Metallifer

If graphene enters the lungs, it can be dangerous because it is very abrasive and durable, which leads some people to say they feel like they are breathing cat hair.

«Health Canada is reviewing data from two manufacturers of graphene-coated face masks to determine the safety and effectiveness of their devices, and take appropriate action as needed», Health Canada spokesperson said, André Gagnon.

Millions of masks have been distributed in Quebec but people have now been told to “ immediately store the mask boxes in a safe and isolated place ”

Heads of health in Belgium fear that 15 millions of fabric masks given to pharmacists are not toxic and cause pneumonia

According to a preliminary report by Sciensano, the Belgian Institute of Public Health, the masks contain nanoparticles of silver and titanium dioxide which, once inhaled, could damage the airways

Two toxicologists have warned those wearing the masks could develop pneumonia, according to a report by the Dutch newspaper HLN

Nanoparticles of silver and titanium dioxide are used to whiten the fabric of face masks

Dr Julian Tang told MailOnline: “ The use of metal ions can help inactivate the virus and these ions can be safely and securely incorporated into the mask material so that they do not present a risk of inhalation – and this feature / design could be specific to these belgian masks only’

The results of these first studies come as the quality of the masks used in Belgium and Canada has been called into question., with graphene and metal ion contamination

Dr Julian Tang, clinical virologist and Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of Respiratory Sciences at the University of Leicester, echoed the sentiment of Dr Sedlak and Professor Braungart that more vigorous research is needed.

“ Further studies on specific mask designs should be performed if there is a possible perceived risk for a particular mask – and masks made by different manufacturers may not present the same risks – if there are any ”, did he declare

He says if people are concerned about their masks, one option is to use professional surgical masks which must meet more stringent standards.

«Southeast Asian countries have been using millions of surgical masks since the first outbreaks of SARS-COV-1 in 2003 – no adverse effects reported», he adds.

‘But even before that, in the whole world, surgical masks were used in surgery by teams around the world – for decades – no adverse effects reported’

Liz cole, co-founder of the organization Us For Them which defends the rights of children, says the results are of particular concern for young people

The recent reopening of schools in the UK depended on children wearing masks for long periods of time, including when they walked around the premises and in the common areas.

“ UsforThem is concerned that recommendations for children to wear headgear in classrooms do not appear to be informed by any new scientific evidence and no damage assessment appears to have been conducted ”, she said.

“ Given the potential health and well-being problems of the child at stake, it is imperative that the potential damage caused by face covers in classrooms is considered and weighed against the benefits ”

Three million face masks are discarded every minute following mass adoption during the coronavirus pandemic, and experts warn it could soon lead to environmental disaster

Masks are worn by the majority of people around the world to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19

However, they pose a greater risk to the environment than carry bags due to their ubiquity and the fact that there is no way to safely decontaminate and recycle them

In an article published by the University of Southern Denmark, experts qualify the huge amount of masks worn and thrown away as “ time bomb ”

They add that the waste causes the degradation of dangerous microfiber masks and that it can also carry harmful chemicals into the environment..

Environmental toxicologist Elvis Genbo Xu of the University of Southern Denmark and Zhiyong Professor of Environmental and Civil Engineering Jason Ren of Princeton University wrote an article on the subject in Frontiers of Environmental Science. & Engineering

And the conundrum of what to do with the recent flood of masks is truly a new frontier for scientists, who have never experienced such a rapid explosion of a product for which there is no established responsible disposal method.

“With more and more reports of inappropriate mask disposal, there is an urgent need to recognize this potential environmental threat and prevent it from becoming the next plastic problem”, warn researchers.

Disposable masks, although excellent for reducing viral transmission, are tricky when it comes to recycling because they are made from many different materials

‘The outer layer is made of a non-absorbent material (eg, polyester) which protects against liquid splashes

‘The middle layer is made of non-woven fabrics (e g, polypropylene and polystyrene) created using a meltblown process, which prevents droplets and aerosols via an electrostatic effect

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Chemical substance, masque

News – GB – Scientists find evidence of toxic chemicals in some face masks
Associated title :
& # 39; What we breathe through our mouths and noses are actually hazardous waste
Exclusive: Chemical cocktail found in face masks
Some face masks contain dangerous levels of toxic chemicals


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