A recent study revealed that disposable face masks, including medical-grade N95 masks, released eight times the recommended U.S. limit of toxic volatile organic compounds (TVOCs). Inhaling TVOCs has been linked to health issues like headaches and nausea, while prolonged and repeated exposure has been linked to organ damage and even cancer.
“Measuring the Quantity of Harmful Volatile Organic Compounds Inhaled Through Masks” was published in April and shared by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers from Jeonbuk National University in South Korea looked at two types of disposable medical-grade KF94 masks made of polypropylene and polyurethane nylon as well as several reusable cotton masks. KF94 are the South Korean equivalent of the KN95 masks used in the United States.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping TVOC levels below 0.5 parts per million in indoor air. The mask sample with the highest amount of TVOCs had 4,808 cubic meters per microgram, which is about 4.8 parts per million. That means more than eight times the recommended limit.
According to the American Lung Association, TVOCs have been shown to irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, cause difficulty breathing and nausea, and damage the central nervous system and organs like the liver. Other types of products that release TVOCs are paint, caulks, cleaners/disinfectants, pesticides, and even tobacco smoke.
Another new study by German researchers has concluded that wearing face masks can cause carbon dioxide poisoning when worn even for short periods and may have contributed significantly to stillbirths, testicular dysfunction, cognitive decline in children, among other destructive health issues.
The research, published in the journal Heliyon, comprises a review of 43 previously published studies and notes that even short-term exposure to concentrations of carbon dioxide as low as 0.3 percent caused brain damage, increased anxiety, and impaired memory in both pregnant rats and young mice in one study. In another, when male mice were exposed to 2.5 percent carbon dioxide for four hours, testicular cells and sperm were destroyed. The equivalent amount for humans would be 0.5 percent of carbon dioxide over the same time period.
Another study discovered that stillbirth and birth defects occurred in pregnant rats that were exposed to just three percent carbon dioxide, which would be equal to 0.8 percent for humans. The study also points to research that found just five minutes of mask wearing resulted in carbon dioxide levels increasing to between 1.4 percent and 3.2 percent.
In addition, there are hundreds of scientific studies and medical articles that confirm that wearing face masks are not effective at reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and are harmful to people’s health in at least 68 ways.