Health Scare: Graphene Face Masks

Various types of face masks have been introduced to the market since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of which is graphene face masks. The concern of using a graphene face mask hit local headlines recently when Consumers’ Association Penang (CAP), called for the government to ban the sales of face masks with graphene in Malaysia.1

What is Graphene?

Graphene is a type of carbon material that is only one atom thin. It is related to graphite – the stuff you find in pencil tips. It is a unique material known for being strong and a good electric conductor. It is commonly used in electrical components such as computer chips, semiconductors, batteries, etc.2

What Are Graphene Face Masks? 

A graphene face mask is a face mask that has graphene imbued into its mask structure. The manufacturers of these masks claim that the graphene has antiviral and antibacterial properties.3, 4

The Health Concern

Animal studies have shown short-term inhalation resulted in lung toxicity. Exposure of graphene to lab rats showed injury and inflammation to the lungs as early as 4 hours.5  The government of Canada has recalled all face masks containing graphene and has advised the public not to use face masks containing graphene citing the risk of lung toxicity.6, 7

Does Your Face Mask Have Graphene?

A quick search shows that graphene face masks are available in certain online shopping platforms in Malaysia. Therefore, always check the product description of the face mask purchased. If there is graphene, we strongly discourage you to use it. 

Purchase From Trusted Sources

CARiNG Pharmacy has checked with all our face mask suppliers. We have confirmed that all face masks sold in our stores DO NOT contain graphene. Lastly, if you have any inquiries, do approach any of our assuring and CARiNG Pharmacists at our outlets, or chat with us on our Facebook page.

 

References:

  1. CAP wants ban on face masks, PPEs containing graphene. A Dermawan. New Strait Times Online. (Web accessed May 2021). Web link: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2021/05/690777/cap-wants-ban-face-masks-ppes-containing-graphene
  2. Graphene Info. The Graphene Experts. (Web accessed May 2021). Web link: https://www.graphene-info.com/graphene-introduction
  3. World Safety Trust. CMS Graphene Masks and MFG. (Web accessed May 2021). Web link: https://worldsafetytrust.com/cms-graphene-mask
  4. Planar Tech. (Online shop). (Web accessed May 2021). Web link: https://www.planartech.com/store/p1/graphene-enhanced-face-mask-pack-of-3.html
  5. Evaluation of pulmonary and systemic toxicity following lung exposure to graphite nanoplates: a member of the graphene-based nanomaterial family. JR Roberts, RR Mercer, A Erdely, et al. (2016) Part Fibre Toxicology. 
  6. Recalls and safety alerts. Government of Canada. (Web accessed May 2021). Web link: https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2021/75309a-eng.php
  7. Health Canada removes graphene masks from market. I Kaufman. Tbnewswatch.com (Web accessed May 2021). Web link: https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/health-canada-removes-graphene-masks-from-market-3602447