Face-masks cause harm – a review of scientific reports of harms caused by face masks, up to February 2021

A researcher at the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, Denis Randcourt has released a working paper reviewing scientific reports of harms caused by face masks. Denis Randcourt is also a member scientist of PANDA which says that they consider explanations that allow them to count the human costs of COVID-19 globally.

There will be 5 main topics of discussion in this article – they include:

  • Healthcare workers (HCWs)
  • Physiological impacts of face masks in healthy adults
  • Psychological harm in the general population
  • Infants and school children
  • Microbial pathogen infections from masks
Physiological impacts of face masks in healthy adults

One study titled “Effects of wearing N95 and surgical facemasks on heart rate, thermal stress and subjective sensations” had some findings that suggested mandatory masking needs to be revisited immediately. Here’s what the study had to say:

“The results from the experiment demonstrate that heart rate, microclimate (temperature, humidity) and subjective ratings were significantly influenced by the wearing of different kinds of facemasks.”

They continue in their discussion:

“Significant differences were observed between N95 and surgical masks. Mean heart rate, microclimate temperature, humidity and skin temperature inside the facemask, together with perceived humidity, heat, breathing resistance in the facemask, and itchiness, fatigue and overall discomfort, were significantly (P<0.01) higher for N95 masks than for surgical masks. In other words, the subjective perception of breathing difficulty and discomfort increased significantly with increasing thermal stress.

To summarize, the N95 mask was significantly more uncomfortable compared to the surgical mask. The user’s subjective perception of breathing difficulty and discomfort increased significantly with increasing thermal stress. The hotter the mask made one feel – the greater the potential for the perception of breathing difficulty and discomfort. Perceived fatigue and overall discomfort were also significantly higher for N95 masks than compared to the surgical mask.

Psychological harm in the general population

In the working report provided by Randcourt, he quotes a study titled “Need Satisfaction and Well-Being: Testing Self-Determination Theory in Eight Cultures” which says the following:

“Self-Determination Theory (SDT) proposes that certain evolved psychological needs must be satisfied if individuals are to develop to their fullest potential, in the same way, that plants require key nutrients to thrive (refs). SDT posits three universal needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Autonomy involves the need to experience one’s behavior as freely chosen and volitional, rather than imposed by external forces. Competence involves the need to feel capable and effective in one’s actions. Relatedness involves the need for belonging, intimacy, and connectedness to others. SDT theorists view these needs as broad motivational tendencies that operate across life domains and contend that satisfaction of all three needs, not just one or two, is essential for well-being. Although the expression or means of satisfying these needs may vary across cultures, their satisfaction is viewed as essential for well-being in all cultures.”

Denis Randcourt, the author of the working report had the following to say about the study:

“There can be little doubt that forced masking of the general population has a significant potential to deteriorate the three fundamental psychological needs of the individual: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. This harm to individuals and the societal implications have not been studied. The impact may be gargantuan.”

Denis Randcourt, Researcher at the OCLA and member scientist at PANDA

Infants and school children

Effects on school children

“Masked education? The benefits and burdens of wearing face masks in schools during the current Corona pandemic” written by Manfred Spitzer in September of 2020 said:

“wearing masks may have physical side effects. Face masks impair face recognition and face identification, face masks impair verbal and non-verbal communication and face masks block emotional signaling between teacher and learner.”

It continues;

“Given these pros and cons, it is not clear whether face masks should play a major role in educational settings in times of the current viral pandemic. This matter should be discussed urgently, since it globally affects more than 1.5 billion students, teachers, and school staff directly, and, in addition, their families indirectly.”

Where has the discussion been from our politicians on studies like these? Studies that are attempting to take into consideration the consequences of mandatory masking measures – especially on children. These studies need to be considered in the general public policy discussion. My personal opinion is that masking in schools is wrong – but I’ll leave my opinion out of the remainder of this article and allow you to consider the information and make an informed decision of your own volition.

Effects on infants

“Overall, the research to date demonstrates that the visible articulations that babies normally see when others are talking play a key role in their acquisition of communication skills. Research also shows that babies who lip-read more have better language skills when they’re older. If so, this suggests that masks probably hinder babies’ acquisition of speech and language.

Study: “Masks Can Be Detrimental to Babies’ Speech and Language Development”. By David J. Lewkowic.

The concern isn’t for those parents or caretakers that are at home unmasked with their children – rather it’s those parents that are working that have to put their children in daycare who may see challenges in their child’s development in the future. These children won’t have the same opportunity to acquire communication skills through lip-reading as an infant who isn’t exposed to adults that are masked for prolonged periods. This may suggest that if they can’t develop the ability to lip-read well, they may lack the language ability they could’ve had.

Headache problems in youth who mask

One study by Silke Schwarz et al found that of the 20,353 parents and caretakers to report – 68% of the parents reported impairment caused by wearing the mask. The average wear time of the mask for students was 270 minutes per day or 4.5 hours a day. The most common reported impairment was irritability (60%), followed by headaches (53%) and difficulty concentrating (50%) and less happiness (49%). This is Not exactly a good thing when we consider that roughly 2/3rds of parents reported an impairment of their child caused by a mask – it’s even worse when you consider half the reports included difficulty concentrating and an overall feeling of less happiness.

Study: “Corona children studies “Co-Ki”: First results of a Germany-wide registry on mouth and nose covering (mask) in children” by Silke Schwarz et al.

Microbial pathogen infections from masks

Mr. Randcourt also points to the potentially harmful impacts of face masks if they aren’t washed regularly:

Matuschek et al. briefly reported it this way, without reference or demonstration: → “If masks are not exchanged regularly (or washed properly when made of cloth), pathogens can accumulate in the mask. When improperly used, the risk of spreading the pathogen—including SARS-CoV-2—might be critically increased.” (p. 5)

In other words, when we see people put on crusty, dirty, soiled face masks that have not been washed properly or regularly – pathogens can accumulate in the mask. Then, when the mask is improperly used (touching mask, reuse without wash) the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2 may be critically increased. So does that mean politicians need to stop giving press conferences where they touch their face masks? We wouldn’t want to set a bad example for Canadians after all.

Healthcare workers (HCWs)

One study by Galanis et al. included 14 studies with 11,746 HCW’s from 16 countries. The study estimated the overall prevalence of adverse events among HCWs at 78% of all HCWs! The most common reported adverse events were headaches (55.9%), dry skin (54.4%) and dyspnoea were reported by 53.4% of nurses that responded. This means that 53.4% of nurses reported the sensation of not feeling like they could breathe in enough air!

According to the study the following reasons were related to the risk of adverse events:

  • female gender
  • younger age
  • obesity
  • diabetes mellitus
  • smoking pre-existing headache
  • longer duration of shifts wearing PPE
  • increased consecutive days with PPE and increased exposure to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients

The study concluded that the frequency of adverse events amongst HCWs due to PPE use is very high. – Galanis et al

We here at Diverge Media firmly believe that masking isn’t beneficial as per what randomized control trials state. We also refer to the Ontario Nursing Association’s court win against mandatory masking where the arbitrator ruled there was insufficient evidence that masks protected nurse or patient. We have turned our society into one that fears day-to-day life. People now fear basic human interactions – and for a virus that the vast majority have nothing to fear of.

If you want to wear a mask then do so. Just don’t demand that I do it at the threat of a gun – yes, advocating for government enforcement of Covid measures is advocating for the use of force (gun) to be used. I support personal freedom and individual choice – especially for a virus that has been blown out of proportion by the mainstream media and politicians looking to capitalize on the newfound political environment. It’s time to start living again. These days everyone is so afraid of dying that no one seems to be living.

I will end by quoting Braveheart:

“All men die, but not all men truly live.”

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Published by Greg Staley

Greg Staley is a husband, and a father to 3 beautiful girls. He is a concerned citizen who is closely watching his government's actions through critical thinking, and assessment of all qualified and relevant data. He believes in going to the Primary sources of data at all times if possible.