August 19, 2021

Health Canada Finds No "Health Risks of Concern" in Masks Containing Graphene

Health Canada, the Canadian federal department responsible for national public health, has allowed the sale of four mask models containing graphene to resume following a risk assessment and review of scientific literature prompted by earlier concerns that mask wearers could potentially inhale graphene particles, which may pose health risks. An update published on July 13 states that the department “found no health risks of concern with these products” and that “biomass graphene particles are not shed from these masks in quantities that are likely to cause adverse lung effects.” Health Canada’s previous advisory, which was issued on April 2, urged individuals not to use face masks that contain graphene, a novel nanomaterial. The department removed the graphene-containing masks from the market as a “precautionary approach” while it conducted its assessment.

Health Canada’s update states that the filtration performance of the four graphene-containing mask models meets the standard listed on their labels. While graphene is reported to have antiviral and antibacterial properties, the department did not find evidence that it provides any added antimicrobial or antiviral protection in these masks.

At this time, no additional graphene masks are permitted for sale in Canada. Health Canada stresses that risks associated with using graphene masks may vary depending on mask design. As such, the department requires companies that wish to sell graphene masks in the country to first provide evidence demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of their models.

Additional information about this issue can be found on Health Canada’s website.