News & Media

MEDIA RELEASE: St. Joseph’s becomes first Ontario hospital to use planet-friendly masks

London Ontario – St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) is the first hospital in Ontario to switch to a medical mask that protects more than staff, physicians, patients and visitors. It’s also safe for the planet.

The new green alternative mask is medical grade and certified while also biodegradable and compostable. Made from plant-based biopolymers from renewable crop resources, the mask not only meets the gold standard for protection, it boasts an impressive carbon offset – producing 65 percent less CO2e emissions over its life cycle than a synthetic mask. 

“As a long-time leader in environmental stewardship, St. Joseph’s is always seeking solutions and making changes to reduce our impact on the environment,” says Lori Higgs, Vice President Clinical Support and Chief Financial Officer at St. Joseph’s. “We are pleased to lead the way in the province with a switch to a green mask that is a healthy solution for the environment and our care teams.”

The environmentally-friendly mask is the VIRALOC eco™ mask produced by PADM Medical based in Winnipeg, MB.  The selling feature for St. Joseph’s was an opportunity to significantly reduce consumption of single-use plastics without compromising on breathability, filtration or splash resistance.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face mask consumption and waste have become a global issue and a massive source of microplastic waste in the environment.  

The new mask is also less expensive than St. Joseph’s current masks. 

Across the organization, about 1.5 million masks are used per year at the current use rate. The VIRALOC eco™ mask is an ASTM F2100 Level 3 procedural mask and will eventually replace all masks provided to those working and training at St. Joseph’s as well as patients, visitors and volunteers. 

The switch is happening gradually. Stocking of the mask began at St. Joseph’s the week of Dec. 12 and is expected to be fully implemented by mid-January 2023.

“We were pleased to find a mask that not only protects all those who work or receive care at St. Joseph’s, but also benefits the environment,” says Toby O’Hara, General Manager of Healthcare Materials Management Services, which consolidates purchasing for St. Joseph’s and the region’s hospitals. 

The mask is currently used by major hospitals in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and multiple retirement homes across Canada. 
“We are very excited to be working with St. Joseph’s Health Care London as the first Ontario hospital to fully integrate VIRALOC eco™ as a sustainable alternative,” says Kyle Fiolka, Chief Innovation Officer with PADM Group. “Our commitment is to creating eco-conscious products to support the health and wellness of all individuals and our planet.”    

For  more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Dahlia Reich, Communication Consultant
St. Joseph’s Health Care London                        
519 646-6100 ext. 65294, Cell: 519 619-0971, pager 10117    

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community-based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. For more information, visit


News source: St. joseph's Health Care London