Health Canada is advising Canadians to not use face masks that contain graphene because there is a potential that they could inhale graphene particles, which may pose health risks.
Graphene is a novel nanomaterial (materials made of tiny particles) reported to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Health Canada’s preliminary assessment of available research identified that inhaled graphene particles had some potential to cause early lung toxicity in animals.
However, the potential for people to inhale graphene particles from face masks and the related health risks are not yet known, and may vary based on mask design.
The health risk to people of any age is not clear.
Variables, such as the amount and duration of exposure, and the type and characteristics of the graphene material used, all affect the potential to inhale particles and the associated health risks.
Health Canada has requested data from mask manufacturers to assess the potential health risks related to their masks that contain graphene.
Until it completes a thorough scientific assessment and has established the safety and effectiveness of graphene-containing face masks, it is taking the precautionary approach of removing them from the market while continuing to gather and assess information.
Health Canada has directed all known distributors, importers and manufacturers to stop selling and to recall the affected products.
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.
Health Canada also believes they may also have been distributed for use in health care settings.