Health

Children Should Not Be Forced To Wear Masks Due To CO2 Levels, New Study Suggests

(Photo by KURT DESPLENTER/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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A newly-released study suggests that children may be harmed by wearing face masks intended to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics section, found that the wearing of nose and mouth coverings by children leads to an increase in carbon dioxide levels in both inhaled and exhaled air while wearing a mask. The authors, a group of physicians from Germany, Poland and Austria, concluded that the findings “suggest that children should not be forced to wear face masks.”

The sample size was limited to 20 girls and 25 boys between ages 6 and 17, with an average age of 10.7. The study was conducted by measuring base carbon dioxide levels with no face mask in a controlled environment for three minutes, followed by a three-minute measurement of inhaled and exhaled air with a mask, three-minute measurement of only inhaled air with a mask, and three minutes with only exhaled air with a mask. (RELATED: DeSantis: ‘Kids Do Not Need To Be Wearing These Masks’ For Fall School Semester)

The results found an average of 13,120 and 13,910 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air inhaled by children while wearing surgical and filtering masks, respectively. Under German law, the carbon dioxide contents of a closed room cannot exceed 2000 ppm, more than six times less than the masked children were inhaling.

The results also found that carbon dioxide levels tended to increase the younger the children were, with one 7-year-old’s levels measured at 25,000 ppm. The authors claim that most of the complaints made by children about wearing masks can be explained by increased carbon dioxide levels.

According to the study, the dead space in masks collects exhaled carbon dioxide quickly, and that carbon dioxide mixed with oxygen and increases the amount inhaled under the mask. (RELATED: Expert Panel Tells House Republicans It’s ‘Highly Likely’ COVID-19 Came From A Lab)

Whether or not kids should wear masks has been the source of intense debate for some time, with proponents arguing that kids can spread COVID-19 even if they are relatively safe from illness themselves, while opponents say it is not necessary and the masks could be harmful.

The authors of this study cite another paper which analyzed data from nearly 26,000 German children and determined that 68% of them experienced adverse effects while wearing a mask.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommend that children above the age of 2 wear a mask if not vaccinated, and it recommends that children be vaccinated if they are 12 years old or older. The World Health Organization has recommended that children do not get vaccinated at this time.