Swansea University 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 work is supported by the Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) and the SPECIFIC Innovation & Knowledge Centre
Project lead Dr Sarper Sarp of Swansea University College of Engineering said:
“All of us need to keep wearing masks as they are essential in ending the pandemic. But we also urgently need more research and regulation on mask production, so we can reduce any risks to the environment and human health”.
Outlined in a recent paper, the tests carried out by the research team used a variety of masks – from standard plain face masks to novelty and festive masks for children with many currently being sold in UK retail outlets.
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/nano particles 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.
Image Credit: Envato
With more than 18 months of the pandemic in the rearview mirror, researchers have been steadily gathering new and important insights into the effects of COVID-19 on the body and brain. These findings are raising concerns [...]
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered life expectancy losses not seen since World War II in Western Europe and exceeded those observed around the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc in central and Eastern European countries, according [...]
Within a day of testing positive for covid-19 in June, Miranda Kelly was sick enough to be scared. At 44, with diabetes and high blood pressure, Kelly, a certified nursing assistant, was having trouble [...]
A technology developed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has led to the discovery of an "ultra-potent" monoclonal antibody against multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, including the delta variant. The antibody [...]
Research has found a significant fall in levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, 6 months after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Clinical evidence also suggests that the risk [...]
Are the COVID vaccines substantially different from/inferior to other vaccines in terms of their effectiveness? The issue raised, and I'm mostly paraphrasing here, is this: Most vaccines (e.g. measles, smallpox) have efficacy defined such [...]
The EVONANO platform allows scientists to grow virtual tumors and use artificial intelligence to automatically optimize the design of nanoparticles to treat them. The ability to grow and treat virtual tumors is an [...]
Modern Approaches to Augmentation of Brain Function Available from Springer Press This book covers recent advances in neural technology that provide for enhancements for brain function. It addresses a broad range of neural phenomena [...]
Although the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, limited manufacturing capacity and the need for cold-chain storage hinder their global distribution. A recent study tested the efficacy of a new adeno-associated virus (AAV) [...]
Fully vaccinated people were 11 times less likely to die of COVID and 10 times less likely to be hospitalized compared to the unvaccinated since highly contagious Delta became the most common variant, US [...]
The highly-infectious Delta coronavirus variant has spread to at least 174 countries worldwide, from the US to Australia, causing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The variant has mutations that help it partially escape the immune response produced by [...]
Fragile mRNA molecules used in COVID-19 vaccines can’t get into cells on their own. They owe their success to lipid nanoparticles that took decades to refine. Messenger RNA (mRNA) is having a moment. This [...]
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed critical knowledge gaps and assumptions concerning how respiratory viruses spread between hosts. Traditionally thought to be spread mainly through large respiratory droplets produced by the coughs and sneezes of sick individuals, [...]
SARS-CoV-2 is just one of nonillions of viruses on our planet, and scientists are rapidly identifying legions of new species. Mya Breitbart has hunted novel viruses in African termite mounds, Antarctic seals and water [...]