Initial finding in a study on the presence of titanium dioxide in face masks is presented

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Sciensano is currently conducting a study on the possible health effects of (nano)particles in face masks. The first results show a varying amounts of titanium dioxide in face masks and has yet to be investigated whether and to what extent the particles can be released and pose a health risk.

Titanium dioxide is used in textiles to whiten textile fibers, to make them matt or to protect them from UV radiation and discoloration. The quantities used in the production of these TiO2 face masks range from a few micrograms to 0.15 grams per mask. The location of the nanoparticles is both surface bound and in the core of the textile fibers. The particles on the inside of the fibers are not expected to be released, whereas the surface bound fibers potentially may be released.

The current study does not show any acute evidence that the health risks from wearing the masks outweigh the health benefits. We currently have 27 face masks in our database where the substance is unknown in 12 of these.