Tennessee governor’s free ‘sock masks’ treated with registered pesticide; California Gov. Newsom won’t share details on $1B mask deal with China

June 2, 2020 | By Phil Williams | NewsChannel5 Nashville |

‘I wouldn’t wear one,’ environmental expert says

“NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans have picked up free face masks provided by the state, never suspecting that those masks might carry their own health risk.

But an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation has discovered that those face masks – meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 – were treated with a controversial substance that is registered as a pesticide.

That substance is an antimicrobial designed to ward off odors.

“I wouldn’t wear one,” said Dr. Warren Porter, a professor of environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a board member for the environmental group Beyond Pesticides.

“Nobody wants to breathe in COVID, but I wouldn’t want to be breathing in something that I also knew could be poisoning my body in a relatively short period of time and might be having multi-year effects on my health.”

As part of Gov. Bill Lee’s push to re-open Tennessee’s economy, the state ordered five million nose-and-mouth coverings from the Renfro Corporation, a North Carolina-based sock maker.

Cost to taxpayers: $8.2 million.

Related investigation: Sock maker gets $8 million, no-bid contract to make face masks

“We wanted to get a free mask to Tennesseans who felt like they couldn’t afford a mask,” Lee told reporters in early May.

The governor’s team boasted that the sock masks, as they came to be known, are “washable, reusable, and treated with Silvadur, a non-toxic silver antimicrobial good for 25 industrial washes.”

But a search of the web reveals filings with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where Silvadur is registered as a pesticide that is “harmful if inhaled” and “toxic to fish.”

(After this story was posted, a PR firm representing Renfro Corp. said Monday that the company uses Silvadur 930. That product, also registered as a pesticide, “causes moderate eye irritation” and is “toxic to fish.” It is listed as being approved for “non-food contact uses in industrial and household woven and non-woven fibers.”)

Silvadur is a DuPont product that uses silver technology that is supposed to keep fabrics fresh.

Under “how it works,” DuPont says Silvadur “delivers silver ions when organisms land or form on a treated fabric.”

These ions “continually release to safely kill microbes that cause odor.”

Late Friday, a spokesperson for DuPont chemical company issued a statement insisting that the pesticide is “used at such low levels that the use of the fabric poses no risk to consumers.”

But Professor Porter said, when positively charged silver ions are released on and in the human body, “these antimicrobial functions are also anti-cell functions.”

“While it’s true it affects the cell membranes of bacteria, that means it can also affect cell membranes of anything else in the body, including your nerves or anything else,” he explained.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted that DuPont says that Silvadur is “trusted and safe.”

Porter laughed.

“Well, I’m afraid the literature would not agree with that.”

In fact, a 2010 EPA study concluded, “There is evidence that silver, and in particular nanosilver, is toxic to aquatic and terrestrial organisms … and may be detrimental to human health.”

“You start messing around with DNA, which is the genetic material controlling your cell operations, you interfere with the messaging and bugger up the communication that goes on in cells, like I say, you’ve got a molecular bull in a china shop,” Porter said.

“There are all kinds of ways that it can disrupt cellular activity.”

The EPA report lists nanosilver in medical breathing masks as a “high” risk of exposure.

We asked Porter, “Is there something particularly vulnerable about having it over your nose and mouth?”

He answered, “That would definitely be more vulnerable because you’ve got all your respiratory surfaces and a lot of things that can get through those respiratory surfaces.”

NewsChannel 5 Investigates reached out to the Governor’s Office and Lee’s COVID-19 Unified Command for comment at 8:07 a.m., asking for a response by noon.

At 12:31 p.m., Unified Command spokesperson Dean Flener responded, “We’re working on it and should have to you soon.”

Later, asked for an update, Flener emailed at 1:38 p.m., “We are working on it.”

At 2:04 p.m., the spokesperson finally responded: “Thank you for your patience. Please direct your questions to Renfro.”

Emails sent to Renfro Corp. were not answered, and no one was available to answer the company’s main phone number. Efforts to submit an inquiry through the company’s online portal repeatedly resulted in error messages.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Professor Porter, “If you were advising the governor of the state of Tennessee, what would you advise him about these masks?”

“Well,” he responded, “I would advise him to try to get his money back.”

DuPont ignored NewsChannel 5’s inquiries for several days.”

Link To FULL Article





“LOS ANGELES – China’s new energy vehicle manufacturer BYD Company will begin shipping 150 million N95 masks to the US state of California in the coming days for distribution to front-line medics, Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said Monday.

The new batch of N95 masks is coming after 110 million surgical masks from BYD have already been distributed to help sectors in California reopen safely, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Newsom announced that California-based BYD North America has received certification from the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to produce N95 respirators for the state, the statement said.

N95 masks can provide medical workers with better protection than loose-fitting surgical masks from coronavirus infection. California and many other US states have faced a shortage of medical supplies, including N95 masks and surgical masks, since COVID-19 broke out in the country.

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services had made NIOSH certification of N95 masks an explicit requirement of the contract with BYD so that California’s doctors, nurses and other front-line workers can be confident that the N95 masks they receive from the state are of the highest quality and meet federal health and safety standards.

“Providing California’s front-line health care workers and responders the protective equipment they need is a critical part of our response to COVID-19. This new supply of N95 masks, as well as the surgical masks this contract has already provided, are game-changing and play a crucial role in our state’s public safety and reopening strategy,” said Newsom.

With the certification now in hand, as outlined in the contract, BYD will produce and ship 150 million N95 masks to the state for distribution to health care workers and those identified by health officials as requiring respirator-style masks, according to the statement.

“The first shipment of N95 masks produced as part of this contract are expected to arrive in the coming days. The contract will ensure that the state has a sufficient supply of masks going forward should there be need for them in the future,” said the statement.

Newsom’s office noted that California’s contract with BYD is part of a wider effort by the state administration to prioritize the procurement and dispersal of critical personal protective equipment and other emergency assets and commodities to protect public health and safety.

California’s agreement with BYD “has yielded more than 110 million surgical masks with more coming in nearly every day,” the office said.

The most populous US state has distributed BYD surgical masks to aid workers across sectors of society, including 6,168,000 for agriculture, 2,578,000 for education, 3,238,000 for retail, 3,516,000 for non-emergency medical and 8,696,000 for public health.

California, one of the hardest-hit US states in the coronavirus pandemic, has reported 133,560 cases with 4,657 deaths as of Monday night, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.”

Link To Full Article







Link To_Contract_BYD-Motors-LLC-OES

“WARNING ( ! ) 

1. The mask does not eliminate the risk of contracting any disease or infection.

2. Failure to properly use and maintain this product could result in illness or even death.

3. Only for one time use, please destroy and dispose according to regulations after use.

4. Some materials in direct contact with the skin may cause allergic reactions or even anaphylaxis in sensitive individuals.

5. Please use within the validity period.

6. DO NOT use if package is damaged.

7. Please refer to the instructions before use.

8. For adult use only

9. Do not wash”

Link To_Contract_BYD-Motors-LLC-OES



1. Use this product immediately after package is opened. Not recommended for more than 8 hours of use.

2.DO NOT sleep while wearing mask.

3. Avoid hand contact with the inside of mask.

4. Use only within validity period.

5. For one time use only. Please dispose of according to regulations after use.

6. DO NOT use if package is damaged.

7. Some materials in direct contact with the skin may cause allergic reactions or even anaphylaxis in sensitive individuals.

8.Please refer to the instructions before use.


Link To Toxicity Polypropylene

List of known side effects

Polypropylene can give rise to the allergic reactions that people exposed to it have.


Polypropylene can give rise to the allergic reactions that people exposed to it have.

Polypropylene is bad for the endocrine and reproductive systems.

Polypropylene plastics break down when they are exposed to high temperatures that are typical of the manufacturing process, especially when they are presented with a common mineral filler called talc. Link






“California Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing pushback as state lawmakers have begun demanding details of his nearly $1 billion deal to receive 200 million masks per month from a Chinese manufacturer.”

“Just two weeks after announcing the deal, Newsom has remained largely mum on the specifics.

Advisers to the California Democrat have declined requests for comment from the Los Angeles Timesabout the agreement, which was inked with Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD — which stands for Build Your Dreams — earlier this month.

BYD was formed in 1995 as a battery manufacturer. In 2008, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased a 24.8% stake in the company.”

Link To Full Article


Link To Article Gov. Newsom: California Spending 1.4 Billion On 200 Million Face Masks, Other PPE 



“A Chinese manufacturer was charged today with producing and exporting to the United States in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly half a million misbranded and defective masks that falsely purported to be N95 respirators,”

Link To Source






Ohio State Rep Calls For People To Stop Getting Tested; His Banned Video Shows How Mask Usage Reduces Oxygen Below Safe Levels








“Respiratory pathogens on the outer surface of the used medical masks may result in self-contamination. The risk is higher with longer duration of mask use (> 6 h) and with higher rates of clinical contact. Protocols on duration of mask use should specify a maximum time of continuous use, and should consider guidance in high contact settings. Viruses were isolated from the upper sections of around 10% samples, but other sections of masks may also be contaminated. HCWs should be aware of these risks in order to protect themselves and people around them.”

Link To_Full_Document_s12879-019-4109-x






The Healthy American – STOP The Masks! OSHA’s requirement for breathing air to have at least 19.5 percent oxygen content.