Face masks worn by the public are not regulated, and some fall short of standards of medical PPE. Certain types of masks which are readily available to the public during the coronavirus pandemic were found to cause dangerous levels of exposure to chemicals if worn for long enough. Analysis from the Hamburg Environmental Institute, which was obtained by Ecotextile News, revealed a plethora of face masks contained levels of formaldehyde and fluorocarbons.
Scientists have found evidence that some face masks which are on sale and being used by members of the general public are laced with toxic chemicals.
Preliminary tests have revealed traces of a variety of compounds which are heavily restricted for both health and environmental reasons.
This includes formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause watery eyes; a burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; and nausea.
Experts are concerned that the presence of these chemicals in masks which are being worn for prolonged periods of time could cause unintended health issues.
Top German scientists have found that wearing certain types of face masks for long periods of time could result in potentially hazardous chemicals and harmful microplastics being inhaled deep into human lungs.
Professor Michael Braungart, director at the Hamburg Environmental Institute and co-founder of the world-renowned Cradle to Cradle environmental standard has told Ecotextile News that mask wearers unwittingly run the risk of breathing in carcinogens, allergens and tiny synthetic microfibres by wearing both textile and nonwoven surgical masks for long periods of time.
His recent findings have been backed up by another leading industry textile chemist Dr. Dieter Sedlak, managing director and co-founder of Modern Testing Services Augsburg, Germany in partnership with Modern Testing Services Global, Hong Kong who found elevated concentrations of hazardous fluorocarbons, formaldehyde and other potentially carcinogenic substances on surgical face masks: “I can only say 100 per cent that I have similar concerns to Prof. Braungart.”