Scientists Find Dangerous Chemical Pollutants In Disposable
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Scientists have uncovered potentially dangerous chemical pollutants that are released from disposable face masks when submerged in water. The research reveals high levels of pollutants, including lead, antimony, and copper, within the silicon-based and plastic fibres of common disposable face masks.

The rise in single-use masks, and the associated waste, due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been documented as a new cause of pollution. The study aimed to explore this direct link -- with investigations to identify the level of toxic substances present. The findings reveal significant levels of pollutants in all the masks tested -- with micro/nanoparticles and heavy metals released into the water during all tests.

Researchers conclude this will have a substantial environmental impact and, in addition, raise the question of the potential damage to public health -- warning that repeated exposure could be hazardous as the substances found have known links to cell death, genotoxicity and cancer formation. To combat this, the team advise further research and subsequent regulations be put in place in the manufacturing and testing process.

There is a concerning amount of evidence that suggests that disposable plastic face masks (DPFs) waste can potentially have a substantial environmental impact by releasing pollutants simply by exposing them to water. Many of the toxic pollutants found in our research have bio-accumulative properties when released into the environment and our findings show that DPFs could be one of the main sources of these environmental contaminants during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is, therefore, imperative that stricter regulations need to be enforced during manufacturing and disposal/recycling of DPFs to minimise the environmental impact. There is also a need to understand the impact of such particle leaching on public health. One of the main concerns with these particles is that they were easily detached from face masks and leached into the water with no agitation, which suggests that these particles are mechanically unstable and readily available to be detached.

Source:
https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/scientists-find-dangerous-chemical-pollutants-in-disposable-face-masks-101620189597016.html
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