Well, this is a new one…
Over the weekend, Kourtney Kardashian posted a jaw-dropping story for her 102 million Instagram followers. Something so ill-considered it really strains belief for the eldest Kardashian sis. We mean, doesn’t she usually come off as the most sensible one? Well, apart from never giving up on Scott Disick we guess…
Related: Scott Disick Spotted Attending Halloween Party With Lisa Rinna’s Teenage Daughter
The controversial post’s claim? Those little thin blue masks worn by medical workers — and now lots of other folks — pose a cancer risk to those who wear them. Quite an allegation during this time of a global pandemic.
SPOILER ALERT: We are going to debunk the hell out of this, so DO NOT give any credence at all to the idea that wearing a mask causes cancer. It’s not true. Don’t listen to Kourtney Kardashian about anything. Maybe skin care, she looks amazing.
Anyway, here’s the totally irresonsible post in question (below):
Dozens of followers simultaneously screen-shotted and shared it elsewhere on social media, too — mostly shocked by Kourt’s surprising claims post, which purportedly comes from Cancer.org, the official website for the American Cancer Society.
Now, when one visits that website from Kourt’s shocking post, you’ll find very clearly that the ACS actually 100% agrees with the Center for Disease Control‘s guidelines, which recommend people wear a mask when around others or in public places:
“The CDC recommends that you wear a cloth face cover (something that covers your nose, mouth, and much of your face) or a face mask if you go out in public, especially in places where you might be close to other people. The CDC does not recommend wearing a mask that has a one-way valve or vent because when you breathe out, it allows droplets to go through the mask and possibly spread the virus. Gaiters (cloth coverings that wrap around the nose, mouth, and neck) are also not recommended by the CDC at this time until more information is known about how effective they are in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
The face cover is meant to help protect other people, because you could spread the virus if you are infected and don’t have symptoms. At the same time, when someone else wears a face cover, it can protect you, too. Together, this can help slow the spread of COVID-19.”
It’s frustrating to see Kourtney’s post merely cite “Cancer.org” and not a specific link to a specific web page or study, but even so, we were unable to find any information on the ACS website suggesting any commonly used masks cause cancer.
Maybe that’s the point, though, right? If the “cite” is as un-specific as this one, it makes it far harder for fact-checkers to refute a claim they can’t find, and thus disinformation and uncertainty prevails in the minds of some skeptics… ugh. We hate it here in 2020.
Related: Fans Are Going Crazy For Kourt And Scott’s Flirty IG Posts!
Thankfully, multiple evidence-based studies have been published specifically debunking the (apparently long-standing) myth that mask-wearing could be linked to cancer, or any other adverse health conditions involving carbon dioxide in the lungs or something similar.
For one, Reuters published a massive report on this exact topic in early October, citing multiple evidence-based studies in the process.
And back in September, the public health information hub Meedan Digital Health Lab published their own report on whether mask-wearing was connected to a higher incidence of cancer. They, too, found those claims to be totally false, writing in their report (below):
“Claims that the prolonged use of face masks can cause cancer, oxygen deficiency, dizziness, or other health challenges are not grounded in science. Healthcare workers often wear masks for long hours in the hospital and have been doing so for a long time. There is no evidence that surgical masks or cloth masks cause significant deficiency of oxygen, a build up of carbon dioxide, and other related negative health consequences. This information has been primarily circulating on social media among individuals or communities resistant to mask-wearing in general.”
And that’s not all!
The report further discounted the likelihood of masks causing hypercapnia (too much carbon dioxide in the blood) or respiratory acidosis (high levels of acid in the blood) — two of the other allegedly “common” problems mask-wearing is said to cause, according to sketchy social media posts like Kourtney’s (above).
The report states:
“The claim that wearing face masks causes cancer has been circulating on Facebook and other social media platforms. While masks are restrictive and can feel like they impede air flow, properly designed masks do allow for air flow — the tiny size of oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules makes it easy for the molecules to travel freely in and out of the mask. The feeling of inconvenience or minor discomfort in a mask does not lead to health risks such as a build up of carbon dioxide. It’s true that too much carbon dioxide in the blood (hypercapnia), can lead to high levels of acid in the blood (respiratory acidosis), but both are very unlikely to happen as a result of wearing a properly designed mask or face covering.”
Several other highly-regarded medical centers and public health organizations have also thoroughly debunked the (wildly incorrect) theory that wearing masks causes cancer. Those orgs include the American Lung Association (HERE), the University of Maryland Medical System (HERE), the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (HERE), and the Mayo Clinic Health System (HERE) — which all refute the idea that wearing a mask lowers oxygen intake levels, or contributes to higher carbon dioxide levels, thereby not leading to any higher incidence of cancer or other major health conditions in subjects.
Related: Scott Pokes Fun Of Kourtney’s Use Of ‘WAP’ Lyrics On Instagram!
So where do all these crazy cancer claims come from, anyways?!
Well, it’s kind of hard to say, considering how much fake news, disinformation, and sketchy sourcing floats around all the time on social media.
The best we could find was by focusing on the claims about PTFE products. It’s true POLYTETRAFLUOROETHYLENE products have a hazard warning about the inhalation of fumes — but that’s when they’re exposed to temperatures of around 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
In other words, yes, masks are dangerous when you SET THEM ON FIRE. And in the case your mask catches fire, then yes, you absolutely should not inhale the smoke emanating from it. (You should also go ahead and remove it from your face ASAP. We’d think that should go without saying, but at this point…)
So are there any negative effects of wearing masks all day? Well, as Reuters noted in a May 2020 fact check report on this very question, back in 2006 a group of scientists attempted to study whether N95 face masks had adverse affects on the doctors and medical professionals who were forced to wear them all day long while working with patients during the SARS epidemic.
That study (HERE) concluded that it may be advisable to keep mask times down if possible, noting (below):
“Healthcare providers may develop headaches following the use of the N95 face-mask. Shorter duration of face-mask wear may reduce the frequency and severity of these headaches.”
That’s pretty interesting, of course!
But the presence of headaches in mask-wearers is also a far, far cry from these wild claims that wearing masks could lead to cancer. Still, perhaps grasping at straws like that led anti-mask activists down the rabbit hole to claiming cancer?! Who knows…
Enough proof here for ya, Kourtney?!
Social media users (deservedly) dragged the s**t out of her for this one!
Here’s just a small sample of what popped up on Twitter in response to Kourt’s apparently baseless claims about masks and cancer (below):
“It’s one thing for random people on social media to claim that masks cause cancer… it’s another for @kourtneykardash to be doing so on her Instagram stories to >100 million followers. UTTERLY F**KING UNACCEPTABLE.”
“kourtney kardashian posting on her story about how masks can give you cancer. encouraging 100m+ followers not to wear masks to protect them from COVID is a new low. the irony that she made staff wear masks at her privileged island party lol”
“Kourtney Kardashian posting about how masks can give you cancer. We know she is too rich to care about COVID but encouraging fans not to wear masks to protect from COVID is a new low. That family can’t really be this tone deaf and stupid? Is it PR?”
“The scariest thing to happen on Halloween this year is Kourtney Kardashian posting this utterly ridiculous post about blue masks with no medical evidence or proof, it’s just some random screenshot.”
Reactions, Perezcious readers?
Where do U stand on Kourt’s little social media mishap?? Does she have a responsibility to do some basic fact-checking, considering how many followers she has, or is it just a free-for-all out there?!
Sound OFF about it with your take on everything down in the comments (below)…
[Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN/Avalon]
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