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The Basque Country and Castilla y León withdraw the FFP2 masks made with graphene due to possible pulmonary risks

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The Basque Government has withdrawn “as a precaution” some masks that contain graphene and that until now were distributed among the staff of different public bodies, including teachers, ertzainas and health, at least until the investigations on the potential risks of this component are concluded. .

The Basque Health Service -Osakidetza- has confirmed that it has proceeded to withdraw these masks and has ordered the “cessation of their use and distribution”. 

This decision has been adopted after the Basque Country received a notification from the National Institute of Health Management of the Ministry of Health regarding an alert from the Canadian health authorities regarding masks containing graphene. 

The Ministry has transferred this notification to the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) for its assessment, although at the moment there is no known statement from this body. When the AEMPS takes a position, the Basque health service will decide whether they should be used again or definitively withdrawn.

What masks are they?

The masks withdrawn by the Basque Government are of two types: the surgical IIR, disposable graphene and biomass, from the manufacturer Shandong Shengquan, distributed by Amevisa SAU, and the FFP2 Healfiber, from the same manufacturer, supplied by Iturri SA

The Basque health service has insisted that this measure is based on “precaution” and shows that the alert systems work. 

The two types of masks are commonly used by workers from various public bodies since the Basque Government acquires this protection material through centralized purchases and it also affects other institutions in the Basque Country, which have also been alerted to the decision.

Who had called for his removal?

The Professional Union of the Ertzaintza (SiPE) had requested on Wednesday the immediate withdrawal of all the ffp2 masks in whose composition graphene is present that have been supplied in police centers, due to their possible pulmonary risks. The CSIF union in Andalusia, Madrid and Castilla y León has also claimed it.

Where had they been distributed?

Last Monday these masks were being used in numerous hospital and Primary Care services in Ávila, León, Palencia, Segovia or Valladolid. As well as in the Basque Country ,  Andalusia and in Madrid.

Can graphene be dangerous?

Regarding graphene, “there is no evidence or clear scientific studies that demonstrate its danger or whether there is a risk to health,” say the Basque health authorities. But we will have to wait until a comprehensive scientific evaluation of this component is completed. 

According to the CSIF union, some Asian manufacturers include graphene among the components of the masks, a material composed of carbon atoms that could cause damage to the lungs if breathed daily. 

Graphene experts consulted by 20minutos consider that the masks that have this light material in sheets, alone or superimposed, are capable of withstanding a direct impact of great power, “but if the graphene of the masks is in pieces, they can be detached and that would be the problem”, explains Antonio Osuna, professor at the University of Granada and member of the biotechnology institute of said center .

Where does the alert about these masks come from?

The alert about this component begins in  Canada, where they have been withdrawn  due to potentially dangerous graphene nanoparticle masks . They were distributed by the millions among the population, and even in public schools, by the health authorities who have now asked to suspend their use. They were, specifically, the masks that Metallifer distributed in blue and gray colors.

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