This is a public health warning to the US population and elsewhere, as it appears that our public health agencies and television medical experts seem unable to address key health messages that could have a dramatic effect in reducing risk of severe sequelae in higher-risk populations such as the minority and African-American population to the scourge of SARS-CoV-2. This is now clear. They have squandered many an opportunity to inform the public on simple yet very effective messaging that could reduce morbidity and save lives. Not just for Covid-19, but our focus here is on Covid-19.
For example, obesity has emerged as a potent human target for the SARS-CoV-2 in most studies, in addition to being elderly, frail and having comorbid conditions. It would behoove our agencies to address these risks in a large-scale education program for the populace and especially by calling for a reduction in body weight and particularly for the minority sub-groups (African-Americans). In a similar light, studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation for African-Americans has been associated with a lowered risk of severe disease and mortality from the SARS-CoV-2.
Early ambulatory outpatient treatment with successful combination and sequenced antiviral agents, corticosteroids, and anti-clotting therapeutics should be used widely to help the people at risk. The African-American community is aware that, “Covid (is) a killer for the obese: like pouring gasoline on top of a fire.” Unfortunately, more than a year into the pandemic, the manifest issue of public health education and sound policy decisions remain aloof, given the erratic and confusing responses from the health and governing officials. We are calling for an aggressive focus on our minority populations (and all of our population), as they are usually overlooked and disregarded by public health leaders and agencies. We plead for effective and needed public health messaging.
With that clarion call, we pivot and refer here to another looming concern and this is the potential danger of the chlorine, polyester, and microplastic components of the face masks (surgical principally but any of the mass-produced masks) that have become part of our daily lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope those with persuasive power in the government will listen to this plea. We hope that the necessary decisions will be made to reduce the risk to our populations.
Emergent reports, albeit nascent and anecdotal but nevertheless vitally important (and will be clarified and defined in time) regarding the manufacture of masks, where, “many of them (face masks) are made of polyester, so you have a microplastic problem…many of the face masks would contain polyester with chlorine compounds…if I have the mask in front of my face, then of course I inhale the microplastic directly and these substances are much more toxic than if you swallow them, as they get directly into the nervous system.”
There are also reports of toxic mould, fungi, and bacteria that can pose a significant threat to the immune system by potentially weakening it. Of particular concern to us is the recent report of breathing in synthetic fibers in the face masks. This is of serious concern. “Loose particulate was seen on each type of mask. Also, tight and loose fibers were seen on each type of mask. If every foreign particle and every fiber in every facemask is always secure and not detachable by airflow, then there should be no risk of inhalation of such particles and fibers. However, if even a small portion of mask fibers is detachable by inspiratory airflow, or if there is debris in mask manufacture or packaging or handling, then there is the possibility of not only entry of foreign material to the airways, but also entry to deep lung tissue, and potential pathological consequences of foreign bodies in the lungs.”
Reports are that “Graphene is a strong, very thin material that is used in fabrication, but it can be harmful to lungs when inhaled and can cause long-term health problems.” We argue that there is a risk of potential ‘future’ inflammatory/fibrotic lung diseases because we are inhaling these materials in the masks now for over one year with more duration to come and no end in sight. These substances might also be highly carcinogenic. Not just for us as adults but we must be very concerned about the risks especially to our children since they depend on us as mentors and guides for their decision-making. It is our children that we are very concerned for.
These blue surgical masks pervade our lives. “Health Canada has issued a warning about blue and gray disposable face masks, which contain an asbestos-like substance associated with “early pulmonary toxicity.” The warning is specific to potentially toxic masks distributed within schools and daycares across Quebec. Health Canada (and full praise to them)….“discovered during a preliminary risk assessment that the masks contain microscopic graphene particles that, when inhaled, could cause severe lung damage.”
Reports are that “for a while now, some daycare educators had expressed suspicion about the masks, which were causing children to feel as though they were swallowing cat hair while wearing them. We now know that instead of cat hair, children were inhaling the equivalent of asbestos all day long.”.It appears to be a substance known as graphene. What is indeed alarming is that “the SNN200642 masks that were being used all across Canada in school classrooms had never been tested for safety or effectiveness.” This is indeed a catastrophic failure by the regulators as these surgical face masks are linked to early pulmonary toxicity.
What is indeed frightening is that all of these blue and similar surgical face masks cause plastic fiber inhalation and the outcomes could be devastating, especially to our children. These plastics will degrade very slowly over time and as such, in the lungs it may remain and just build up to dangerous levels. We do not even know what is an ‘acceptable’ level, for there should be none, zero! There is debate that the immune system can attack such foreign objects, thus driving prolonged inflammation which may lead to diseases such as cancer. And reused masks which pervade our daily lives, and based on our personal experiences, do produce more loosened fibers. Dr. Richard Urso showed us just how dangerous these are by putting them under a microscope, revealing the melt-blown polypropylene plastic. Some masks even contain fiberglass and this is very dangerous as we know to inhale. We as parents make these decisions, we have to step back and question many of these decisions we are making that seem suboptimal. If it does not seem right, then you have to push back and question and demand the science, demand the data from these seemingly untethered experts.
We certainly are not getting the due diligence and protection from public health experts, the relevant health agencies, and policy makers that we need. They are failing us! Covid-19 has crystallized this. The government leaders are quick to tell us that they are relying on the advice of these experts in their advisory groups who seem incapable of reading the science or are just blinded to it. It is an academic sloppiness and cognitive dissonance that is terrifying by these experts should they come upon anything that differs from their beliefs or views, even when they are clearly wrong!
Moreover, the mass media seems incapable of doing the investigative type of journalism to fully inform the populace on what the public needs to know. We close by reiterating the warning in the JAMA publication that “Face masks should not be worn by healthy individuals to protect themselves from acquiring respiratory infection because there is no evidence to suggest that face masks worn by healthy individuals are effective in preventing people from becoming ill.” We raise this issue of potential harm due to synthetic fibres, chlorine, and chemicals from Covid masks as a public health warning and call on the public to make its own relevant risk-management decisions, weighing the benefits versus the harms (downsides) of such a course of action. Especially with the surgical masks (blue) or similar that quickly get moisture laden with use, fibers tend to get loose and may enter the mouth and nose.
Every act has a consequence, and there is always risk. It is therefore imperative to weigh the consequences before embarking on a specific course of action. These are risk management decisions especially for parents and not because a Dr. Fauci type tells you to do something means that it is accurate or necessary. Just consider the nonsense we heard about double masking where he said use them one day only to then retract on another day.
We just saw the bizarre and troubling change by the CDC that social distancing for kids no longer required 6 feet and now can be 3 feet but not when in the company of teachers. Outrageous is the fact that the 6-feet rule was arbitrary and based on no underpinning science in the first place. It’s as if the virus floats around and makes these distance adjustments.
What about when one day the CDC Director says vaccinated persons do not carry the virus to then reverse the next day? Even Dr. Fauci went against the CDC. So who is telling the nation the truth on any given matter? What are we to believe? We are told you should vaccinate with a vaccine that does not have the requisite safety assessment (another serious matter that is being swept aside), and then you still must wear a mask and socially distance. It makes no sense.
It is all nonsensical, illogical, specious, and patently absurd some of what these agencies and experts spew to us all day long. Many of it is just plain wrong. We urge you to think this through carefully. Any available evidence must be considered when the health of the citizenry is at stake. Minor risks can turn into major disasters, like cracks in a dam.
We caution you on the safety of these face masks especially since the science also has revealed the ineffectiveness of mask mandates and the masks themselves, as currently used. We are parents and citizens alike, and you and we only seek to inform, share, prognosticate. You must be informed fully for informed decision-making. We also cannot discount the possible harms on our immune systems and general health from such constant and prolonged use of masks, given that we have never done this before.
We are in uncharted territory and especially so with the possible implications for our children. Their immune systems are still being developed and we are forcing lockdowns, school closures, and masking on a developing child and we have no prior experience on the subsequent outcomes pertaining to children’s development, health, and well-being. These are matters too important to nonchalantly disregard. The consequences could be catastrophic and lifelong, especially for our children.
- Paul E Alexander MSc PhD, McMaster University and GUIDE Research Methods Group, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada [email protected]
- Howard C. Tenenbaum DDS, Dip. Perio., PhD, FRCD(C) Centre for Advanced Dental Research and Care, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada [email protected]
- Dr. Parvez Dara, MD, MBA, [email protected]
Paul E. Alexander received his bachelor’s degree in epidemiology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, a master’s degree from Oxford University, and a PhD from McMaster University’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact.