Study Shows the Likely Effects of Disposal Face Masks on the Environment

Dec 23, 2021 9:35 PM ET

The aftermath of COVID-19 introduced PPE (personal protective equipment) to the extent that they became normalized in every social environment. The one PPE in particular that became extremely popular were face masks and other cloth face coverings. Despite their necessity and their role in curbing the effect of the pandemic, they have a lasting effect on the environment. Environmental researching from the Swansea University in England have suggested that there are some dangerous chemicals that may be released into the environment from face masks when they’re put in water.


“All of us need to keep wearing masks as they are essential in ending the pandemic. But we also urgently need more research and regulation on mask production, so we can reduce any risks to the environment and human health.”

Sarper Sarp, Project Lead Swansea University (Source)


PPEs proved to be a game changer for the promo industry during the COVID-era. PPAI’s own research suggested that the product category is responsible for 83 percent of the total sales made between May-August of 2020. However, the share went significantly down since that time period. The major focus has been directed towards reusable, decorated items. In the third quarter of the year, 80% of vendors distributed some decorated PPE, however, this number went down to 55% in the third quarter of 2021.


Surprisingly, the sudden spike in the usage of single-use masks has led to a new kind of pollution. The research conducted by the university was largely an attempt to investigate the amount of toxic substances present in the masks. The team behind the study checked several different kinds of masks, from plain masks to festive ones that are being sold at most retail stores in UK. The team in question found high levels of pollutants in the masks which included substances such as lead, antimony, and copper.


“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 plastic pollution problem we are already facing and will only continue to intensify.”

Sarper Sarp, Project Lead Swansea University (Source)


The conclusion of the study showed an immense amount of micro/nano particular pollutants in all of the masks that were tested. The researchers suggest that these materials could be hazardous to the environment due to the abundance of masks in circulation. This has the potential to pose a serious threat to public safety. Continuous exposure to these materials is known to cause the formation of cancer cells, cell death and even genotoxicity. To curb this new cause of pollution, the researchers suggest that there should be some new regulations set in place to control the manufacturing of these masks.


An alternative solution is the use cloth or fabric masks; these masks can be branded and decorated by varies decoration options. The common decoration options are screen printing, dye sublimation printing, and embroidery. A restaurant can get cloth masks made with its brand logo printed. Cloth masks are made by custom sports apparel companies and embroidery services.


Nowadays, fashion designers and sports uniforms manufacturers widely use custom made patches to brand the clothing. Embroidery is a classic way to modify clothes, jackets, shirts, and caps. A custom patch as a logo looks much better than an ugly irritating tag. In sports, custom name patches are commonly used by fans. You can see fans wearing baseball caps with their favourite team’s logo.


Embroidery (needle and thread) is the most loved method to decorate clothing items like jackets, shirts, caps, hats, bags, and beanies. Embroidery service providers do embroidery directly on the clothing and make custom embroidered patches for hats, jackets, and shirts. Clothing brands customize their clothing products like jeans, caps, and shirt by attaching custom leather patches. The best way to apply a patch is to use a sewing machine.


About Houston Embroidery Service

An embroidery company that makes all kinds of custom patches like custom embroidered patches, custom iron on patches, custom velcro patches, and custom leather patches. This company also provides embroidery digitizing service. This company was established in 2009 in Houston, TX.

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Zia ur Rehman Houston Embroidery Service Phone: 903-951-5430

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