The Consumer Council warned on Monday that some face masks on sale in Hong Kong have bacterial levels that exceed European standards.
The watchdog said it tested 30 coloured or patterned face masks and found that in six of them, the bioburden levels – or microorganisms on a surface – had bacterial levels higher than the European limit.
The level in one mask, from CASETiFY, exceeded the limit by six times.
Nora Tam, the chairwoman of the council's research and testing committee, said people with weak immunity need to be extra careful.
“It’s very unsatisfactory and disappointing. We need to wear masks for a long time, and in almost all cases. And they’re so close to our face, therefore if they have exceeded the bacterial count, that means it’s not hygienic and it’s not safe, and they will affect our skin and may cause skin problems,” she said.
“If a person is having a weak immune system, they need to pay extra attention to that, because that means they may suffer from bacterial contamination.”
The council urged the government to consider including face masks in its Medical Device Administrative Control System, to better regulate the import and sale of the products.