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Public health updates on medical masks

April 8, 2021
  • Procedural or medical masks are recommended instead of cloth masks and are now required in the workplace.
  • The Quebec Public Health Laboratory (LSPQ) did not find any evidence of parasites in medical masks.
  • Health Canada has issued a warning about masks containing graphene, which have not been distributed in Eeyou Istchee.

Wearing a mask is an important layer of protection against COVID-19 and its variants. When worn properly, masks are safe, hygienic, and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Medical masks in the workplace

In Quebec, procedural or medical masks (blue or yellow) are now required to be worn at all times indoors at the workplace.

Procedural or medical masks offer better protection than cloth masks, and should be worn when possible.

To learn more about masks in the workplace: Milieux de travail : Portez le masque médical en continu pour lutter contre la troisième vague | Commission des normes de l'équité de la santé et de la sécurité du travail - CNESST (


Medical masks are safe and hygienic when worn properly

The Quebec Public Health Laboratory (LSPQ) recently investigated dark, thin structures found inside medical masks. There is no laboratory evidence of parasites. The LSPQ confirmed that these structures may be present on both adult and pediatric medical masks from different providers, and are likely textile residues.

These textile residues or fibers are thin and light, and may move with the movement of air or water around them.

Masks approved by the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) are manufactured in sanitary facilities with high standards so that they are sterile.


Do not use masks that contain graphene

On April 2, 2021, Health Canada recalled grey and blue SNN200642 face masks that are labelled to contain graphene. It is recommended to not wear masks that have graphene on their label.

Cree Board of Health and Cree School Board have not distributed any masks containing graphene.

Graphene is a material that has antiviral and antibacterial properties. At this time, the health risk of graphene to people is not clear.  Health Canada has recalled these masks as a precautionary measure while they conduct studies to better understand graphene’s risks to humans.

We recommend keeping masks in their original box and to check for CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approval.

To learn more: Face masks that contain graphene may pose health risks - Recalls and safety alerts (


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