Graphene has been in the face mask news recently, and there’s still some confusion regarding this important topic. First the basics, graphene is a nanomaterial consisting of a hexagonal lattice of carbon atoms. These atoms of carbon are in a single layer giving graphene some very interesting chemical and physical properties. Unfortunately, graphene may be toxic to humans and should not be ingested or inhaled. A review article in Particle and Fibre Toxicology in 2016 described cellular oxidative stress, DNA damage, inflammatory response from graphene-type materials.
On April 2, 2021 Health Canada issued an advisory (https://recalls-rappels.canada.ca/en/alert-recall/graphene-face-masks) on certain face masks containing graphene made by Shandong Shengquan New Materials Co. Ltd. because there was a potential for graphene particle inhalation, which could pose health risks. Health Canada also wrote to provinces and territories advising them to stop distribution and use of the affected masks. It is important to note that this graphene was not a contaminant in these masks – it was there by design. These masks were clearly labelled as containing graphene or biomass graphene. The manufacturer claimed that graphene enhanced the antimicrobial or antiviral properties of the masks. Canadians were advised not to use any masks containing graphene or biomass graphene until the potential health risks could be ascertained by a thorough scientific assessment by Health Canada, and to consult a health care provider if they had used these products and had any respiratory symptoms.
On July 13, 2021, after the review was complete, Health Canada updated the advisory and allowed the resumption of sale of the impacted mask models by Shandong Shengquan New Materials Co. Ltd. The review by Health Canada found that graphene particles were not shed from these masks in quantities that were likely to cause adverse lung effects, and that these masks were safe for Canadians to use.
Even though the graphene stayed in the masks, was not inhaled in any significant amounts, and did not seem to cause health issues, Health Canada “did not find evidence that biomass graphene provides any added antimicrobial, or antiviral protection.” SafeTMed has never shipped nor sold any masks containing graphene nor biomass graphene. Rest assured that the products you received from us in the past and the products you continue to receive from us meet the highest standards of safety and efficacy.
Until next time, stay safe and mask up!
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