Shelby County Health Department stops face mask distribution, official says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department today announced it has stopped the distribution of face masks provided by the State of Tennessee to the public.

The black, knitted face masks, manufactured by Renfro Corp., were treated with a chemical called Silvadur, according to a press release.

From the press release:

Silvadur is an anti-microbial agent applied to fabrics to reduce the growth of odor-causing bacteria.

According to the manufacturer, only trace amounts of the chemical are applied to the fabric and the chemical diminishes each time the mask is washed.

Until more information is made available about Silvadur and its application to the masks, SCHD has stopped all distribution of the masks and is asking partnering agencies to also stop distributing them.

According to the press release, anyone with one of the masks should stop wearing it and wear an alternative face covering if they have concerns.

For more information about COVID-19 and the use of facial coverings, please call the Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline (833-943-1658) or visit the Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage: shelbytnhealth.com/coronavirus.