We were wondering how long before a company started manufacturing face masks using hemp. A subsidiary of Australia’s Ecofibre (ASX:EOF) has just done so. Sort of.
Ecofibre announced late last week it had commenced distribution of facemasks across the United States manufactured under its Hemp Black brand. That division of the company focuses on innovative hemp-based products in textiles and composite materials, a venture occurring in partnership with TexInnovate.
If you were expecting a mask made of hemp fibre, you may be disappointed.
The face mask features anti-microbial copper technology yarns for the exterior layers and an inner layer of Hemp Black material that neutralises odors. This material is a blend of rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET) and hemp flower extract. So that’s the hemp bit – and it seems that’s all there is.
The masks are reusable – washable up to 25 cycles. The masks aren’t particularly cheap at USD $24.95 a pop when bought direct (around AUD $38.50 at current exchange rates), but thankfully they can be reused multiple times with the proper care.
The company makes no claims about preventing the wearing from getting COVID-19, mentioning:
“Face coverings are not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms.”
Ecofibre notes the masks are not intended for clinical use and are not approved by the FDA for this purpose.
“We expect the existing demand for protective facemasks to remain for the foreseeable future,” said Ecofibre CEO Eric Wang. “At least 90% of our capacity will be made available to major healthcare supply distributors, and a small percentage of masks allocated to our direct to consumer channel and US state governments.”
The company says manufacturing will be set at around 160,000 units per month by the beginning of August this year, so it could be a nice little earner.
While on the topic of revenue, Ecofibre has noted “early signs” of COVID-19 negatively impacting pharmacy sales for its Ananda Health brand as a result of limitations on pharmacy hours and what it says are softer trading conditions. However, Ecofibre seems confident sales of the Hemp Black masks will make up for any slowdown in in Ananda Health.
In the USA, Ananda Health produces nutraceutical products for human and pet consumption, as well as topical creams and salves.
Ecofibre is Chaired by Barry Lambert, who we’ve mentioned quite a few times here on Hemp Gazette. In December last year, Mr. Lambert and his wife were bestowed with Honorary Fellowships from the University of Sydney for their support of medicinal cannabis research.