Health Canada recently decided that the sale of certain graphene-enhanced face masks that were considered a hazard due to their graphene content can resume, after the agency assessed the masks and found "no health risks of concern."
Health Canada issued an advisory in April asking all distributors selling masks with graphene or biomass graphene to recall their products over potential inhalation risks after preliminary assessments made the agency fear a potential for inhaled graphene particles to cause lung effects, such as inflammation, in animals. These concerns made somewhat of an impact with consumers and producers alike, and various graphene-enhanced face masks responded to these claims.
Now, Health Canada said it assessed four face mask models produced by Shandong Shengquan New Materials and found that the biomass graphene didn't pose a health risk to wearers.
"As a result, given the evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of these products, Health Canada is permitting the sale of the four Shandong Shengquan New Materials Co. Ltd. mask models to resume in Canada," the agency said in the updated advisory.
Health Canada said it determined that the "filtration performance" of these masks meets the performance standard listed on the label. However, the agency said it did not find evidence that the biomass graphene in these masks provided any additional antimicrobial or antiviral protection.
The agency noted that no other face masks containing graphene are currently permitted for sale in Canada. If additional graphene masks are approved, Health Canada will notify the public.
"Companies wishing to sell graphene masks must first provide evidence to Health Canada demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of their models, as the risks with using graphene masks may vary depending on mask design," the agency said.