Health Canada has recalled disposable face masks due to the potential of inhaling tiny particles found on the product that could pose health risks.
Canadians have been advised not to wear masks that contain graphene or biomass graphene after Health Canada’s preliminary assessment of available research found that it could cause early lung toxicity in animals if inhaled, according to its advisory.
Related health risks to humans are not yet known; however, they are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of Canadians.
According to Health Canada, Graphene is a novel nanomaterial that has been reported to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
“Health Canada conducted a preliminary scientific assessment after being made aware that masks containing graphene have been sold with COVID-19 claims and used by adults and children in schools and daycares,” states the advisory.
“Health Canada believes they may also have been distributed for use in health care settings.”
The agency has requested data from mask manufacturers to assess the potential health risks that could be caused in relation to face coverings that contain graphene.
Until then, the masks have been removed from the market across the country while they continue to gather and assess information.
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“Health Canada has directed all known distributors, importers and manufacturers to stop selling and to recall the affected products. Additionally, Health Canada has written to provinces and territories advising them to stop distribution and use of masks containing graphene,” stated the advisory.
“The Department will continue to take appropriate action to stop the import and sale of graphene face mask.”
ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd., a Canadian, next-gen nanomaterials technology company, exploring using graphene in PPE and pharmaceuticals, supports Health Canada’s decision of the steps taken to regulate the use of graphene, as well as removing products that are unsafe for Canadians.
“Our focus as a company is developing technology that helps protect people and the environment. An integral part of that is working with experts and independent third parties to validate effectiveness and safety. Through this approach we have proven that our technology is highly effective against pathogens and safe for use on masks. Further, we are now on the path to demonstrating potentially even more important use as a pharmaceutical for human infectious disease while upholding the same excellent safety profile. Safety and third-party validation will always be a top priority for ZEN – and is why we are glad Health Canada has taken these steps to protect the public from substandard products like those removed from the market in Quebec last week,” said Greg Fenton, ZEN CEO, in a statement.
“Our technology was borne amidst the pandemic out of a need to better protect front-line workers and those most vulnerable. Through our collective experience this past year, we firmly believe the need for additional protection will endure and why we will remain steadfast in achieving this goal.”
The company said they are “fully committed to working with Health Canada and our partner at Trebor to ensure our Made-in-Canada solution can bring additional protection to those that need it most as quickly as possible.”
Anyone who has worn a graphene mask and has new or unexplained shortness of breath, discomfort, or difficulty breathing is asked to consult their healthcare provider.