Seized urgently to assess the potential health effects of the DIM brand masks, ANSES (National Health Security Agency) did not highlight any risk, "in the event that the precautions for use would be strictly observed ”.
But "under the actual conditions of wearing" of these Sun masks, "any health risk cannot be excluded", she notes in a mixed opinion issued on Wednesday.
“As long as the treated mask is worn without prior washing or is not changed as soon as it is wet, ANSES considers on the other hand that any health risk cannot be ruled out.
These masks had in particular been distributed to teachers and the Ministry of National Education suspended the distribution to teachers of these controversial masks on October 20, pending the results of an expertise.
A note from the general direction of the national gendarmerie dated October 16 and consulted by Le Parisien also asked its services to "suspend, on a provisional basis, the use of protective masks of the DIM brand" and "to stop them. diffusion ".
ANSES "rules out the potential for immediate and serious harmful effects"
The health agency recalls that it was asked to estimate the potential risks of these washable fabric masks treated with two antimicrobial active substances, silver zeolite and silver and copper zeolite.
These biocidal products have been accused of being toxic by the news site Reporterre.
At the end of its expert appraisal, ANSES "ruled out the potential for immediate and serious harmful effects on human health, a finding supported by the absence of reporting to the poison control and toxicovigilance centers of proven adverse effects on human health. wearing these masks ”.
For the medium-term risks, it concludes that "in the event that the precautions for use are scrupulously respected, the wearing of these masks does not present any harmful effect on human health, in particular toxicity for reproduction".
"These precautions include washing before first use and after each use, wearing for a maximum of 4 hours and replacing masks as soon as they are wet," she explains.
Risks cannot be "totally ruled out"
However, taking into account the situations that may exist in everyday life, such as wearing masks without prior or wet washing, and "" worst case "scenarios", the health agency considers that medium-term toxicological effects such as "l The accumulation of Ag + silver ions in the organs can result from these exposures ”and that“ health risks cannot therefore be totally ruled out ”.
It notes that chemical treatment with biocidal substances is not a technical requirement for fabric masks and that, moreover, manufacturers are not required to mention these treatments on the labels.
Newsletter - Most of the news
Every morning, the news seen by Le Parisien
Your email address is collected by Le Parisien to enable you to receive our news and commercial offers.
The use of antimicrobial treatments, in particular in everyday consumer products, needs to be better supervised, she continues, indicating that the implementation of the Biocidal Regulation contributes to this.
Finally, ANSES recommends speeding up the evaluation of active substances at European level so that the treated articles contain only those which are approved and suitable for the product.