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Vlog: Researchers discover harmful pollutants within disposable face masks

It’s been one year since lockdown began. Our lives have all changed in so many ways. With the focus of the last year on increased hygiene and cleanliness, people wearing face masks has become a common sight.

But this has also led to an increase in disposable plastic face masks being discarded in the environment. Abandoned masks are an eyesore, but are there any further implications to our health? One of our researchers, Dr Geraint Sullivan investigated the effect disposable face masks could potentially have. The resulting scientific paper was published in Water Research.

We asked:

0:06 What is this paper about?

0:36 Why did you investigate this topic?

01:03 What did you discover?

02:12 Do reusable face masks have the same issues?

This research was supported by IMPACT, SPECIFIC, the Welsh Government Technical Advisory Group and by Dr Gareth Davies and Ms. Kate Johns of Tata Steel Europe group for ICP-MS analysis and Dr Ann Hunter for LCMS analysis at National Mass Spectrometry Facility. The research team includes Dr Sarper Sarp, Professor Trystan Watson, Dr Javier Delgado Gallardo and Dr Geraint Sullivan with grant support from EPSRC and Swansea University College of Engineering.

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