Claim: Masks deprive your body of oxygen

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
It's worrying that websites carrying misinformation get so many views. I'm trying to create a balance.
I'm posting three threads here with relevant titles in an effort to get them in to Google so that people find them, come here and read the facts. Each thread contains information about one of three claims against the use of face masks (during a pandemic) covered in a BBC news article.

The BBC doesn't necessarily deserve our trust without research, but advice from experts (in this case they quote the WHO and Professor Keith Neal of Nottingham University), I think we should give weight to.

Claim: Masks deprive your body of oxygen
Verdict: False claim

One of the most common themes in misleading posts surrounding the use of masks is that they limit the amount of oxygen getting into the body.
People have shared a graphic titled "danger of a face mask" and say this "may lead to death".

But the breathable materials recommended for face masks worn properly won't inhibit your breathing.

Breathlessness is a sign that your body is deprived of oxygen - known as hypoxia.

"Thin paper or cloth masks will not lead to hypoxia. Surgeons operate for hours wearing them. They don't get these problems," says Prof Keith Neal, an infectious disease expert.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says: "The prolonged use of medical masks when properly worn, does not cause CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency.

"While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not re-use a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp."

These oxygen-depleting claims have appeared in many different languages: English, German, Serbian and Hebrew Facebook posts alongside the same stock image of a toddler in a mask.

An article on a Nigerian news site, originally translated from Spanish, carried the claim back in April and has been shared 100,000 times.

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