'I was clawing at my face,' Roane County woman recalls experience with state-issued masks

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 8:09 PM EDT
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A Roane County woman said she and her family had bad experiences with free masks distributed by the state of Tennessee.

On Monday, health departments across East Tennessee

due to safety concerns related to the anti-microbial agent used to treat the fabric of the masks.

Becky King told

her family received seven masks from the Roane County Health Department.

"I put it on the first day I got it and we went to the store and I could only wear it a couple of seconds, my face was itchy," King said. "I washed it when I got home and wore it again the next day and I had a rash around my face from it. It was insane. I was clawing at my face."

King said she washed the masks at least three more times and the same reaction occurred. At the time, she said she thought it was an allergic reaction to the mask's materials.

An investigation by

uncovered the masks were treated with a controversial substance that is registered as a pesticide.

Both King's mother and oldest daughter said they had to remove the masks because the itching was so severe.

"Honestly, it's like, so did they know it was going to be an issue when they started handing them out? They should have said these have been treated and they didn't," King said. "They didn't tell us that."

King said she wishes she had been informed the masks had been treated because she would not have used them.

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