The Williamson County Emergency Management Agency has canceled all distribution of masks that were provided by the Tennessee Department of Health after health concerns surrounding the manufacturing process of the masks.
According to reporting by News Channel 5, the facemarks were treated with Silvadur, a product created by chemical manufacturer DuPont, which according to experts interviewed by News Channel 5, can be harmful if breathed in by humans.
According to DuPont's website, the chemical is an polymer-based antimicrobial meant to offer "protection, durability and freshness" to products including socks, which is the same material the masks are made from, having been produced by North Carolina company Renfro Corp., which operates a plant in Cleveland, Tennessee.
News Channel 5 also reported that the state awarded a $8 million no-bid contact to the company using federal money that was issued to the state for COVID-19 relief.
WCEMA began distributing the masks in conjunction with offering COVID-19 testing at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center in early May, but according to a social media post, that has stopped effective immediately.
"All mask distribution activities at the Williamson County Agricultural Center have been canceled until further notice," the post reads.
It's not clear exactly how many masks have been distributed by the county but thousands have been handed out across the state.
On May 23 the Nolensville Police Department handed out the free masks at the Nolensville Farmers Market but according to a Facebook post from May 30 the department warned citizens of the potential health risks and was no longer distributing the masks.