Scientific Reports of Harms Caused by Face Masks

Long-term daily face-mask wearing by entire populations, of all ages and health conditions, in every aspect of life, even during times of physical exertion, has never been done before in the history of mankind. For good reason. It is a massive experiment that from the beginning even those promoting it admit is “symbolic.” Real world studies are showing they are ineffective. A Denmark study is being discussed everywhere. Here is 4 minute Highwire video explaining.

Real world studies are also showing harm from this massive human experiment. Preprint of a German study: Corona children studies “Co-Ki”: First results of a Germany-wide registry on mouth and nose covering (mask) in children.

For those who would argue that some cultures have dress codes that require women to wear veils, please consider the findings of the 2012 study Effect of face veil on ventilator function among Saudi adult females.

First consider the knowledge base and attitude of the researchers in the pre-covid era:

A large body of knowledge exists about possible mechanisms and short- and long-term physiological responses for different pathological airflow limiting conditions, involving the respiratory system endogenously, such as obstructive sleep apnea,(5) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.6 However, studies on physiological responses to external airflow limiting factors such as surgical and protective masks, are relatively few. Use of facemasks of different air permeability can cause changes in temperature and humidity in the microclimates of the facemasks, causing different effects on heart rate, thermal stress and perception of discomfort.(7) It is also shown that 1-4 hours use of surgical masks during surgeries can result in decreased arterial oxygen saturation levels and increased pulse rate in surgeons.(8)

And their discussion on their findings:

[Terms: VF = ventilatory function; FVC = Forced vital capacity (FVC), FEV1 = forced expiratory volume in one second; FEV1/FVC (%), and MVV = maximal voluntary ventilation]

The present results show that VF values (FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC (%) and MVV) for niqab wearing females were significantly lower than the corresponding values for non-niqab wearing females. In fact, the FVC, FEV1 and MVV values were approximately 30% lower, and the FEV1/FVC (%) was 9% lower for niqab wearing females. The data also show a significant negative correlation between the duration of niqab use and the FVC and FEV1 values.

It is reasonable to believe that any condition, pathological or otherwise, which can interfere with the free airflow in the respiratory system or adequate expansion of lungs and chest wall, can result in insufficient ventilation or excessive work of respiratory muscles to maintain required ventilation. Previous studies show that different conditions limiting chest expansion during respiration, such as obesity, scoliosis or use of bullet proof vests, body armour and heavy backpacks can reduce FVC and FEV1, without affecting the FVC/ FEV1 ratio.(16-18) These results indicate a proportionate reduction in FEV1 and FVC values. However, our present results show that FEV1/FVC% value for niqab wearing females was significantly lower than the non-niqab wearing females. This indicates that with long-term use of niqab, the FEV1 was relatively reduced more than the FVC.

Although data on the changes in VF related to different pathological airflow limiting conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea,(5) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma6 are available, but data on changes in VF related to non-pathological airflow limiting conditions with use of protective masks are not available. A few previous studies on the use of facial masks (7,8) only reported short-term physiological responses (heart rate, thermal stress and oxygen saturation). Thus, our present data add new knowledge on the effect of long-term use of niqab on VF.

It has been reported that with increased physical activity the temperature in the facemask microclimate increases,(7,19) causing increase in thermal sensations of the whole body(20), which decreases work endurance.(21) The temperature of air entering the facemask during inspiration corresponds to thermal stimulus to the skin under mask and affects heat exchange from the respiratory tract, reducing breathing comfort sensation.(22) Decrease in blood oxygenation level among surgeons has also been reported following the use of surgical masks during surgery lasting 1 to 4 hours,8and long duration use of facemasks by medical emergency staff has been related to extreme stress. (23)

Taken together, it is reasonable to believe that the short-term physiological responses to the use of niqab maybe similar to those previously described for different kinds of facial masks. It can be argued that unlike the facial masks, the niqab is usually not very tightly applied to the face, and thus the thermal and circulatory changes that occur when wearing a surgical mask may not be applicable. However, in comparison to the facial masks that cover mainly the nose and mouth, the niqab used by Saudi women covers the whole face except the eyes and is thus maybe capable of causing facial mask like short-term physiological responses. In fact, in- creased breathing discomfort during summer is a common complaint among our niqab wearing subjects corroborating previous studies. (19,22) No data is available on the air and moisture permeability of the layers of fabric used in making the niqab. It has been reported that use of two different kinds of facemasks with 95% and 96% filtration efficiency, can result in different mean heart rate, microclimate temperature, humidity and skin temperature under facemask, together with perceived discomfort, fatigue and breathing resistance.(7) In light of these previous findings, it is reasonable to speculate that the present result of lower VF values in veil group than non-veil group, is not only due to direct airway resistance caused by niqab, but increase in microclimate temperature, humidity and skin temperature inside the niqab can be contributing factors. In addition, it is a possibility that part of the exhaled carbon dioxide may also be trapped inside the niqab, lead- ing to some shortage of oxygen causing an increase in heart rate via sympathetic nervous system.(24)

Furthermore, the use of niqab in presence of known sedentary life style of Saudi females probably does not require extra respiratory effort to overcome physiological responses to the use of niqab, as these ladies may adapt to shallow breathing patterns with higher heart rate. Prolonged reduction of pulmonary ventilation during the use of niqab for several hours may result in lowering the tidal volume, which may induce insufficient oxygenation and inadequate carbon dioxide elimination. This affects gas exchange (15) and thus can cause some degree of hypoxia, which may lead to different musculoskeletal pain disorders and reduction in endurance levels. We can also speculate that the regular use of niqab by Saudi women can probably be one of the reasons of higher prevalence of fibromyalgia and cervicobrachialgia among Saudi females.(25)The present results of lower VF values in veil group than non-veil group, merit further investigations where different physiological responses, blood oxygen saturation levels and subjective perception of discomfort should be investigated during different levels of physical activity with niqab made of different air and moisture permeability.

In conclusion, our data show that there are differences in VF [Ventilatory Function] tests among niqab and non-niqab wearing Saudi adult females, where values for niqab users are lower than the values for those who do not use niqab. Further studies are required to investigate the effect of different fabric materials with different air and moisture permeability that can safely be used for niqab with minimal effect on ventilatory function.

Now, D.G. Rancourt has published Review of scientific reports of harms caused by face masks, up to February 2021, providing a comprehensive overview of the science on known and potential harms.

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