Additional Reading on Mass Masking
Key anchor points to the extensive scientific literature that establishes that wearing surgical masks and respirators (e.g., “N95”) does not reduce the risk of contracting a verified illness:
• Jacobs, J. L. et al. (2009) “Use of surgical face masks to reduce the incidence of the common cold among health care workers in Japan: A randomized controlled trial,” American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 37, Issue 5, 417 – 419.
N95-masked health-care workers (HCW) were significantly more likely to experience headaches. Face mask use in HCW was not demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting colds.
• Cowling, B. et al. (2010) “Face masks to prevent transmission of influenza virus: A systematic review,” Epidemiology and Infection, 138(4), 449-456. DOI:10.1017/S0950268809991658
None of the studies reviewed showed the benefit of wearing a mask in either HCW or community members in households (H). See summary Tables 1 and 2 therein.
• bin-Reza et al. (2012), “The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: a systematic review of the scientific evidence,” Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 6(4), 257-267.
“There were 17 eligible studies. […] None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against inﬂuenza infection.”
• Smith, J.D. et al. (2016) “Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, CMAJ Mar 2016, cmaj.150835; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.150835
“We identified 6 clinical studies … In the meta-analysis of the clinical studies, we found no significant difference between N95 respirators and surgical masks in the associated risk of (a) laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection, (b) influenza-like illness, or (c) reported work-place absenteeism.”
• Offeddu, V. et al. (2017) “Effectiveness of Masks and Respirators Against Respiratory Infections in Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 65, Issue 11, 1 December 2017, Pages 1934-1942, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix681
• Radonovich, L.J. et al. (2019) “N95 Respirators vs. Medical Masks for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Personnel: A Randomized Clinical Trial”, JAMA. 2019; 322(9): 824-833. DOI:10.1001/jama.2019.11645
“Among 2862 randomized participants, 2371, completed the study and accounted for 5180 HCW-seasons. … Among outpatient health care personnel, N95 respirators vs. medical masks as worn by participants in this trial resulted in no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
• Long, Y. et al. (2020) “Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza: A systematic review and meta-analysis”, J Evid Based Med. 2020; 1- 9. https://doi.org/10.1111/jebm.12381
No RCT study with verified outcome shows a benefit for healthcare workers or community members in households to wearing a mask or respirator. There is no such study. There are no exceptions. Likewise, no study exists that shows a benefit from a broad policy to wear masks in the contaminated public.
Furthermore, if there were any benefit to wearing a mask, because of the blocking power against droplets and aerosol particles, then there should be more benefit from wearing a respirator (N95) compared to a surgical mask, yet several large meta-analyses, and all the RCT, prove that there is no such relative benefit. Masks and respirators do not work.
Many potential harms may arise from broad public policies to wear masks, and the following unanswered questions arise:
• Do used and loaded masks become sources of enhanced transmission, for the wearer and others?
• Do masks become collectors and retainers of pathogens that the mask wearer would otherwise avoid when breathing without a mask?
• Are large droplets captured by a mask atomized or aerosolized into breathable components? Can virions escape an evaporating droplet stuck to a mask fiber?
• What are the dangers of bacterial growth on a used and loaded mask?
• How do pathogen-laden droplets interact with environmental dust and aerosols captured on the mask?
• What are long-term health effects on healthcare workers, employees, and students, such as headaches, arising from impeded breathing?
• Are there negative social consequences to a masked society?
• Are there negative psychological consequences of wearing a mask, as a fear-based behavioral modification?
• What are the environmental consequences of mask manufacturing and disposal?
• Do the masks shed fibers or substances that are harmful when inhaled?
According to Guy Crittenden, who, for 25 years, edited the trade journal HazMat Management THAT MASK IS GIVING YOU LUNG CANCER (This was posted on Facebook, Oct 23rd, 2020.)
“I happen to know a thing or two about masks and safety. Why? Because for 25 years I was the editor of an award-winning trade magazine called HazMat Management that covered such topics as pollution prevention and compliance with health & safety laws. We routinely published articles on masks, gloves, respirators and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE). Now let me tell you a few things about that mask you’re wearing. And please note that what I’m about to share was also stated in the most recent edition of Del Bigtree’s program The Highwire when two OSHA mask experts spoke to the fact that the kinds of masks people are wearing were never (never!) designed to be worn for long periods and doing so is very harmful.
The blue typical mask depicted in the photograph contain Teflon and other chemicals. A Facebook friend reminds us: 1. Masks are “sterilized” with Ethylene Oxide — a known carcinogen. Many teachers in various school boards have been experiencing significant symptoms as a direct result of the effects of this chemical. 2. The masks contain (not sprayed with) PTFE which makes up Teflon along with other chemicals. I found and have posted the US patent to allow manufacturers to use PTFE as a filter in commercial masks… “breathing these for extended periods can lead to lung cancer.”
Don’t agree? Argue with the experts at OSHA, which is the main US agency, i.e., its Occupational Health & Safety Agency. These masks are meant to be worn only for short periods, like say if you’re sanding a table for an hour and don’t want to inhale sawdust. They don’t do anything whatsoever to stop the spread of any virus, and the emerging science of virology now understands that viruses aren’t even passed person to person. I know that sounds incredible, but it’s the case that the virus is in the air, you breath it in, there’s no way to prevent that short of living in an oxygen tent, and if you have a strong immune system you’ll be fine, and if you have a weak immune system you may have to deal with the effects of your immune system working to restore balance within your metabolism.
So let’s say you don’t wear the blue packaged masks, and instead wear a homemade cloth mask — the kind people wear over and over and hang on their rearview mirror and so on. Those masks are completely useless against a virus, and are also very dangerous. OSHA would never condone a person wearing a mask of this kind for anything more than the shortest time. Re-breathing your own viral debris is dangerous to health, and the oxygen deprivation children suffer wearing such masks all day will certainly cause brain damage. I’m not making this up. Again, you might say, well, Guy, you’re not a doctor. True, but I did edit that magazine for 25 years. That’s a long time and many articles on masks and PPE. I’ve attended numerous OH&S conferences and listened to experts discussing these matters.
You may hear people saying that surgeons and nurses wear masks like this all day. Um, no. No they don’t. They’re trained in the proper use of masks, which is to wear them in the OR, then dispose of the mask when they leave that room. Are you aware that operating rooms are actually supplied extra oxygen, to compensate for the reduction in oxygen flow from mask wearing? To my mind, it’s criminal (not hyperbole) to force children to wear masks all day. Setting aside the very real psychological effects, we’re going to have a generation of brain damaged children. Ever heard the expression, “Not enough oxygen at birth?” That’s a joke at the expense of a mentally challenged person, but that’s literally what we’re doing. And we’re told it’s to “keep us safe”! We’re told this by doctors who actually don’t know about PPE and laypeople who have no clue.
So, you can choose to believe me or not, but I was the editor for a quarter century of a magazine that had a strong occupational health and safety mandate, and I can tell you that the mask wearing currently mandated by governments and private businesses offers no health benefit whatsoever, in no way protects you or anyone else from any virus, and actually does you damage beyond wearing it for a few minutes.Got that? Good. Now please share this message and get the conversation going with parents, who must end this masking of children immediately. This is a very serious matter. And related to that, let me just state this doesn’t end for me when the lockdown ends or the masking ends. No, this ends for me when every politician and bureaucrat who inflicted this travesty, this crime against humanity, on the population of Canada (and other affected countries) is in the dock, and faces their misdeeds in a court of law.
And as for those of you who have put masks on young children, I will have a long memory on that score. A very long memory.
END NOTE: The CDC and WHO have acknowledged that asymptomatic people do not spread the virus, so the case for masks for such people is moot in the first place.”
The Surgeon Argument
If surgeons are wearing masks it is to prevent getting blood in their mouth or accidentally spitting or sneezing in an open surgical site. Surgeons do NOT wear masks to prevent viral transmission and in many studies they’ve been deemed useless and potentially harmful.
August 11, 2020 | By Arthur Firstenberg:
“As a person who went to medical school, I was shocked when I read Neil Orr’s study, published in 1981 in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Dr. Orr was a surgeon in the Severalls Surgical Unit in Colchester. And for six months, from March through August 1980, the surgeons and staff in that unit decided to see what would happen if they did not wear masks during surgeries. They wore no masks for six months, and compared the rate of surgical wound infections from March through August 1980 with the rate of wound infections from March through August of the previous four years. And they discovered, to their amazement, that when nobody wore masks during surgeries, the rate of wound infections was less than half what it was when everyone wore masks.
Their conclusion: “It would appear that minimum contamination can best be achieved by not wearing a mask at all” and that wearing a mask during surgery “is a standard practice that could be abandoned.”
I was so amazed that I scoured the medical literature, sure that this was a fluke and that newer studies must show the utility of masks in preventing the spread of disease. But to my surprise the medical literature for the past forty-five years has been consistent: masks are useless in preventing the spread of disease and, if anything, are unsanitary objects that themselves spread bacteria and viruses.”
Ritter et al., in 1975, found that “the wearing of a surgical face mask had no effect upon the overall operating room environmental contamination.”
Ha’eri and Wiley, in 1980, applied human albumin microspheres to the interior of surgical masks in 20 operations. At the end of each operation, wound washings were examined under the microscope. “Particle contamination of the wound was demonstrated in all experiments.”
Laslett and Sabin, in 1989, found that caps and masks were not necessary during cardiac catheterization. “No infections were found in any patient, regardless of whether a cap or mask was used,” they wrote. Sjøl and Kelbaek came to the same conclusion in 2002.
In Tunevall’s 1991 study, a general surgical team wore no masks in half of their surgeries for two years. After 1,537 operations performed with masks, the wound infection rate was 4.7%, while after 1,551 operations performed without masks, the wound infection rate was only 3.5%.A review by Skinner and Sutton in 2001 concluded that “The evidence for discontinuing the use of surgical face masks would appear to be stronger than the evidence available to support their continued use.”
Lahme et al., in 2001, wrote that “surgical face masks worn by patients during regional anesthesia, did not reduce the concentration of airborne bacteria over the operation field in our study. Thus they are dispensable.”
Figueiredo et al., in 2001, reported that in five years of doing peritoneal dialysis without masks, rates of peritonitis in their unit were no different than rates in hospitals where masks were worn.
Bahli did a systematic literature review in 2009 and found that “no significant difference in the incidence of postoperative wound infection was observed between masks groups and groups operated with no masks.”
Surgeons at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, recognizing the lack of evidence supporting the use of masks, ceased requiring them in 2010 for anesthesiologists and other non-scrubbed personnel in the operating room. “Our decision to no longer require routine surgical masks for personnel not scrubbed for surgery is a departure from common practice. But the evidence to support this practice does not exist,” wrote Dr. Eva Sellden.
Webster et al., in 2010, reported on obstetric, gynecological, general, orthopaedic, breast and urological surgeries performed on 827 patients. All non-scrubbed staff wore masks in half the surgeries, and none of the non-scrubbed staff wore masks in half the surgeries. Surgical site infections occurred in 11.5% of the Mask group, and in only 9.0% of the No Mask group.
Lipp and Edwards reviewed the surgical literature in 2014 and found “no statistically significant difference in infection rates between the masked and unmasked group in any of the trials.” Vincent and Edwards updated this review in 2016 and the conclusion was the same.
Carøe, in a 2014 review based on four studies and 6,006 patients, wrote that “none of the four studies found a difference in the number of post-operative infections whether you used a surgical mask or not.”
Salassa and Swiontkowski, in 2014, investigated the necessity of scrubs, masks and head coverings in the operating room and concluded that “there is no evidence that these measures reduce the prevalence of surgical site infection.”
Da Zhou et al., reviewing the literature in 2015, concluded that “there is a lack of substantial evidence to support claims that facemasks protect either patient or surgeon from infectious contamination.”
“Schools in China are now prohibiting students from wearing masks while exercising. Why? Because it was killing them. It was depriving them of oxygen and it was killing them. At least three children died during Physical Education classes — two of them while running on their school’s track while wearing a mask. And a 26-year-old man suffered a collapsed lung after running two and a half miles while wearing a mask.
Mandating masks has not kept death rates down anywhere. The 20 U.S. states that have never ordered people to wear face masks indoors and out have dramatically lower COVID-19 death rates than the 30 states that have mandated masks. Most of the no-mask states have COVID-19 death rates below 20 per 100,000 population, and none have a death rate higher than 55. All 13 states that have death rates higher 55 are states that have required the wearing of masks in all public places. It has not protected them. “We are living in an atmosphere of permanent illness, of meaningless separation,” writes Benjamin Cherry in the Summer 2020 issue of New View magazine. A separation that is destroying lives, souls, and nature.”
Face-Masks-For-All Is Not Scientific; But What’s the Harm in Wearing One Anyway?
Healthy People Wearing Masks, Should They or Shouldn’t They?
‘Masks Are Symbolic,’ say Dr Fauci and The New England Journal of Medicine
Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era
List of authors.
Michael Klompas, M.D., M.P.H., Charles A. Morris, M.D., M.P.H., Julia Sinclair, M.B.A., Madelyn Pearson, D.N.P., R.N., and Erica S.
Shenoy, M.D., Ph.D.
Sorry Oregon, your mask is useless (according to the science)
Carbon Dioxide Triggers Primordial Fear of Suffocation
By Charles Q. Choi November 25, 2009
Masks, Quarantine, and Lockdown
By Dr. Les Berenson
Face Masks Pose Serious Risks to the Healthy
A study published from Singapore of a group of Heath care workers where 81% reported new onset of PPE-related headaches.
Headaches Associated With Personal Protective Equipment – A Cross‐Sectional Study Among Frontline Healthcare Workers During COVID‐19 – Ong – 2020 – Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain – Wiley Online Library
Others have reported dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath/nasal congestion while using N95 respirators.
The Physiological Impact of N95 Masks on Medical Staff – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov
Effects of Long-Duration Wearing of N95 Respirator and Surgical Facemask: A Pilot Study http://medcraveonline.com/JLPRR/JLPRR-01-00021.pdf
Effectiveness of Surgical Cotton Masks Blocking Sars CoV 2: Controlled Comparison https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2764367/effectiveness-surgical-cotton-masks-blocking-sars-cov-2-controlled-comparison1h
“The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of cloth masks to medical masks in hospital healthcare workers… The rates of all infection outcomes were highest in the cloth mask arm… Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%…. This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection.”
April 22, 2015 , University of New South Wales
The widespread use of cloth masks by healthcare workers may actually put them at increased risk of respiratory illness and viral infections and their global use should be discouraged, according to a UNSW study.
Over 3 times the risk of contracting influenza like illness if cloth mask is used versus no mask at all
“Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% compared to medical masks with 44%”
Also please be careful using “germ killing/blocking” materials like special fabrics or ac filters. Many of these materials are coated with harsh chemicals that can majorly impact your health, especially your respiratory health. Breathing in chlorine or flame retardants all day is not a good idea.
If you’re going to Wear a Mask
Here are strategies from the WHO for reducing the potential of infecting yourself:
Before putting on a mask, clean your hands with soap and water.
Cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you have to, try to clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water before doing so.
Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp. Do not reuse single-use masks.
To take off the mask: Remove it from behind (do not touch the front of the mask); discard it immediately in a closed bin; and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Essentially, if you’re not doing all these things… You’re not doing it right. All you have is a face diaper – collecting waste all day long and spreading it all over.