In an advisory released Friday, the agency said there is a “potential that wearers could inhale graphene particles from some masks, which may pose health risks.”
Health Canada said graphene is a novel nanomaterial — a material made of tiny particles — that is reported to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
“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,” the advisory reads.
Masks containing graphene may have also been distributed in health care settings, the agency said.
Health Canada said its “preliminary assessment” found that 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 advisory reads. “The health risk to people of any age is not clear.”
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Health Canada says it has requested data from the manufacturers to “assess the potential health risks related to their masks that contain graphene,” and has directed all known distributors, importers and manufacturers to stop selling the recalled products.
In an email to Global News, Health Canada said the department is currently reviewing data from two manufactures or graphene-coated face masks.
The agency said while it has received a report “indicating concerns” related to the use of masks coated in graphene, “no incidents involving serious harm have been reported to date.”
Health Canada said it will complete a “thorough scientific assessment” to establish the safety and effectiveness of face masks containing graphene.
Canada’s provinces and territories have also been notified and were advised to stop the distribution of graphene masks in their region.
“The department will continue to take appropriate action to stop the import and sale of graphene face masks,” Health Canada said.
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