Developing environmentally friendly surgical masks for frontline workers
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Ensuring front-line workers who need medical-grade masks can always access them, while reducing the amount of plastic going to landfills is more important now than ever.

University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine researchers are developing a reusable mask that meets Level 1 safety criteria. Working with a textile engineer, an architect, sewing experts, a knowledge translation expert and a medical student, they have created a prototype that people in health-care settings can wash and wear multiple times. The team is testing to see how many times the masks can be re-used while maintaining their protective qualities.

The hope is that if there’s a reusable alternative, disposable mask use will decrease so we can protect the planet while we protect each other and ourselves.

For more information, visit the University of Toronto.

“A lot of eco-friendly practices people had adopted before the pandemic stopped in the beginning of the pandemic over concern about spreading the virus – for example, people stopped using reusable bags at the store or travel mugs at the coffee shop. So, there’s a sense that we’ve really stepped back from the progress we’d made toward sustainability as a society.”
Reena Kilian
Team Member and Lecturer in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto
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