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"Top German scientists have found that wearing certain types of face masks for long periods of time could result in potentially hazardous chemicals and harmful microplastics being inhaled deep into human lungs.
Professor Michael Braungart , director at the Hamburg Environmental Institute and co-founder of the world-renowned Cradle to Cradle environmental standard has told Ecotextile News that mask wearers unwittingly run the risk of breathing in carcinogens, allergens and tiny synthetic microfibres by wearing both textile and nonwoven surgical masks for long periods of time.
His recent findings have been backed up by another leading industry textile chemist Dr. Dieter Sedlak, managing director and co-founder of Modern Testing Services Augsburg, Germany in partnership with Modern Testing Services Global, Hong Kong who found elevated concentrations of hazardous fluorocarbons, formaldehyde and other potentially carcinogenic substances on surgical face masks: “I can only say 100 per cent that I have similar concerns to Prof. Braungart.”
“What we are breathing through our mouth and nose is actually hazardous waste,” said Professor Braungart, who ran preliminary tests on used surgical masks that found traces of chemicals such as the known carcinogen aniline as well as formaldehyde and optical brighteners – both heavily restricted on consumer goods by European and US authorities to minute parts per million concentrations.
Separate studies by Dr. Sedlak have also shown the presence of compounds such as 2-butanone oxime (carcinogenic) blocked diisocyanates used as crosslinkers for perfluorocarbons (PFCs) on face masks. Used in the textile sector as oil and water repellents on fabrics, by-products of PFCs are known to be bio-persistent and their use is heavily restricted by authorities in Europe and the USA. Last year, a group of US scientists called for all per- and poly-fluorinated substances (PFAS) to be treated as one single class of chemistry and said they should be avoided for non-essential uses due to their hazardous toxicological and eco-toxicological profile".