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SWANSEA – Scientists from Swansea University in Wales have uncovered potentially dangerous chemical pollutants that are released from disposable face masks when submerged in water. The researchers discovered high levels of pollutants, including lead, antimony, and copper, within the silicon-based and plastic fibres of common disposable face masks. They suggest the pollutants could represent a danger to the aquatic environment as well as mask users inhaling them.

The production of disposable plastic face masks (DPFs) in China alone has reached approximately 200 million a day, in a global effort to tackle the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, improper and unregulated disposal of these DPFs is a mounting plastic pollution problem.

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