Despite government health experts claiming that masks are essential to combat COVID-19, a study has found that microplastics in face masks could have exacerbated the virus and caused many health problems.
A systematic review of over 57 studies published in the National Center of Biotechnology in 2021 found that “Face masks release microplastics, which are directly inhaled during use or transported through the environment. The latter can adsorb chemical contaminants and harbor pathogenic microbiota, and once consumed by organisms, they can translocate to multiple organs upon intake, potentially causing detrimental and cytotoxic effects.”
The researchers involved with the review say that while more research needs to be done — science never stops — there have been many alarming health consequences related to the inhaling or ingesting of microplastics, including those specifically found in disposable face masks.
According to researchers, several studies have found that inhaling microplastics can cause “chronic inflammation, DNA damage, granulomas or fibrosis, cellular damage, secretion of cytokines, and oxidative stress.”
Another study that the researchers cite found that exposure to atmospheric or airborne microplastics “could broadly contribute to immune disorders, neurodegeneration, and inflammations.”
There are also a whole host of adverse side effects when it comes to pregnant women and fetus health, too, and microplastics have even been found inside human placentas.
“Furthermore, the surface of [microplastics] is a suitable substrate for biofilm-forming pathogenic bacteria and viruses and can also act as a platform for the propagation of microorganisms,” researchers explain.
“Because the SARS-CoV-2 virus can remain active on inert surfaces for different residency times, the non-aerosolized transmission of the virus among humans, via fomites, is a widespread cause of concern… SARS-CoV-2 has been found to remain active on polypropylene surfaces from 3 days to 7 days, with the latter occurring on a face mask.”
Put simply, the use of face masks potentially led to increased proliferation of the virus.
Moreover, researchers found that disinfecting face masks for reuse increased the number of microplastics people were exposed to.
A separate review of 177 studies found that the ingestion of microplastics can disrupt the human endocrine system, causing several hormonal and reproductive issues.
Of course, as researchers note, the ubiquitous nature of plastic and microplastics in the environment, food packaging, and even the water supply make avoiding all microplastics nearly impossible. However, that doesn’t mean that increasing your daily intake won’t have an effect.
Far from being safe and effective, wearing masks for hours every single day may have more long-term health consequences than the virus they’re purportedly meant to protect people from ever did.