Study Shows KF94 Masks Emit High Levels of Toxic Chemicals

( – Media outlets recently started sounding the alarm about the possibility that mask mandates could return as new viral variants spread nationwide. Although the CDC hasn’t indicated any interest in moving backward, recent reports suggest that some business establishments and educational facilities have reinstated mandatory mask usage.

Amid this mounting concern about a return to pandemic-era mandates, a recent study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed that some Korean-manufactured alternatives to good old Made in the USA masks leak toxic chemicals.

New Study Shows KF94 Masks Leak Toxic Chemicals

The NIH recently re-published the results of a study that originally appeared in the May edition of the Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety journal. This multi-disciplinary publication focuses on the effects of environmental contamination on humans and other organisms.

A team of scientists associated with South Korea’s Jeonbuk National University conducted the study. Established in 1947, the school is one of only 10 universities ranked as a member of the Presidential Council of the country’s flagship national universities and hosts 17 colleges, including the Jimmy Carter School of International Studies.

Led by Hajoo Ryu, the team studied the efficacy of synthetic plastic fiber KF94s compared to other masks. The study found that KF94 respiration systems emitted several toxic chemicals at rates ranging from 22.9 to 147 times higher than others made of functional materials like cotton. Those leaked toxins included 2-butanone, n-hexane, N-dimethylacetamide, 2-propanol, and 1-methoxy.

The researchers determined that the total levels of toxic volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) released by the KF94 mask were about 14 times those released by multi-layer cotton ones. The study found that some of those TVOC emissions posed a significant “risk to human health” based on European indoor air quality standards.

The study also found that KF94 masks degraded quickly once an individual removed the facial covering from its sealed packaging. Likewise, the concentrations of TVOCs emitted increased by 119% to 299% if used in temperatures of 104°F or higher — a distinct possibility in several regions in the United States during summer months.

The Dangers Accompanying Toxic Volatile Organic Compounds

Alarmingly, the study’s authors warned that users of the Korean-manufactured medical masks must pay “particular attention” to the TVOCs “associated with the use of KF94 masks.” They also urged consumers to note the significant reduction in their ability to protect others from emissions if those medical masks are opened and left to sit for half an hour or longer.

The Daily Mail reported on the study. The British news outlet’s article reminded readers that health experts link the inhalation of TVOCs to medical issues ranging in seriousness from nausea and headaches to cancer and organ damage.

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