Health Canada released a advisory and asked distributors to recall face masks containing graphene or biographies, citing potential absorption hazards.
In a tip issued Friday, the agency said there is a “potential that holders could inhale graphene particles from some masks, which could pose health risks”.
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Health Canada said graphene is a new nanomaterial, a material made from small particles that is reported to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
“Health Canada made a preliminary scientific assessment after becoming aware that graphene-containing masks were sold with COVID-19 claims and were used by adults and children in day schools and kindergartens,” reads the advice.
Graphene-containing masks may also be distributed in healthcare settings, the agency said.
Health Canada said its “preliminary assessment” found that the graphene particles had “some potential to cause early lung toxicity in animals”.
“However, the potential for people to absorb graphene particles from face masks and the health risks are not yet known, and may vary based on the mask pattern,” the advisor reads. “The health risk for people of all ages is not clear.”
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Health Canada says it has sought input from manufacturers to “assess the potential health risks associated with their graphene-containing masks”, and has directed all known distributors, importers and manufacturers to stop selling the products in question.
In an email to Global News, Health Canada said the department is currently reviewing data from two manufacturers of graphene-coated face masks.
The agency said while receiving a report showing concerns about the use of graphene-coated masks, no incidents involving serious harm have been reported so far.
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Health Canada said it would complete a “thorough scientific evaluation” to determine the safety and effectiveness of graphene-containing face masks.
The provinces and territories of Canada have also been notified and advised to stop distributing graphene masks in their region.
“The Department will continue to take appropriate action to stop the importation and sale of graphene face masks,” Health Canada said.
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