Researchers in the BioProducts Institute at the University of British Columbia have stepped up to the challenge, designing what could be the very first N95 mask that can be sourced and made entirely in Canada. It’s also possibly the world’s first fully compostable and biodegradable medical mask.
The mask frame is made entirely from B.C. wood fibres from sources such as pine, spruce, cedar and other softwoods. One prototype uses a commercial N95 filter on the front of the mask, the other uses a filter specially designed by the UBC team from wood-based products. Both prototypes are currently being tested to ensure they meet health industry specifications for fit and permeability, with plans to apply for Health Canada certification in the near future.
The researchers believe the mask is a good alternative to the synthetic masks currently in use. “With millions of disposable masks and gloves already polluting city sidewalks and potentially entering our rivers and oceans, we urgently need a biodegradable option to avoid making a massive impact on our environment,” says Foster.
More here on UBC researchers develop biodegradable medical mask for COVID-19 via UBC News.