In a brief announcement yesterday, the company said it had developed the products in response to concerns over the environmental impact of discarded PPE items.
In July, the BBC reported the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in 129 billion face masks being used every month and this has significant environmental implications; particularly when masks aren’t disposed of correctly. Improperly discarded masks not only pose a threat to human health, but also to that over various ecosystems, including marine environments.
APH’s hemp-based face masks, which comprise three layers of hemp and hemp-blended material, are reusable, biodegradable, and sustainably-sourced states the company. APH says the masks deliver 99.9% decrease in microbial count, certified by SGS.
“Orders for these PPE products are valued at more than $315,000 to date, and APH will commence supplying the face masks to Australian and international retailers immediately,” according to the firm; which noted the hemp-infused hand sanitiser is already available online.
Hemp-based PPE has been increasingly appearing on the COVID-19 management scene. One of the first mass-produced products available was from Australia’s Ecofibre subsidiary Hemp Black – which doesn’t actually contain any hemp fibre but a hemp flower extract.
Since then, hemp face masks using fibre from the versatile plant have popped up everywhere, primarily from cottage industry participants – but a French company is also now mass-producing the PPE item.
When shopping for a face mask, whether it’s made with hemp or some other fibre, be sure it complies with WHO guidelines.
Australian Primary Hemp was established in 2016 and covers everything from seed selection, cultivation and processing to packaging under contract, bulk and retail sales. All its seed based products are made with Australian hemp, but it’s not clear if the masks are made with hemp fibre sourced in Australia.