Biodegradable made-in-Canada N95 mask being developed at UBC

Biodegradable N95 masks

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are working on prototypes for biodegradable N95 masks to help fill the high demand for personal protective equipment as people are being advised to wear masks. 

CTV News reports the mask, named the Canadian mask or Can-Mask, has a frame made of BC wood fibres such as pine, spruce, cedar and other softwoods.

One of the prototypes has a commercial N95 filter while the other has a filter made from wood-based products. 

"We knew early on we wanted a solution that uses local materials, is easy to produce and inexpensive, with the added bonus of being fully compostable and biodegradable," Johan Foster, a chemical and biological engineering associate professor.

"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."

Prototypes are being tested and researchers with UBC's BioProducts Institute look to apply for a Health Canada certification in the near future.

- With files from CTV News Vancouver

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