[Rumor Crusher] These statements about masks are all wrong!

Recently, a short video was circulated in circles. In the video, a so-called “physician” said: “Often wearing a mask can cause lung nodules, and the ethylene oxide in the mask can cause cancer and affect your health.” This is a typical medical rumor.

Are lung nodules related to medical masks?

The so-called pulmonary nodules refer to round or nearly round shadows with a diameter of less than or equal to 30 mm found on plain film or CT examination of the lungs. The increase in the detection of pulmonary nodules is mainly due to more advanced detection methods and more frequent screening, which has nothing to do with masks. To some extent, just as people may develop wrinkles or gray hair, most people will be able to detect some lung nodules as the years go by. Advances in medical imaging technology have made pulmonary nodules easier to detect.

There are various reasons for benign pulmonary nodules, including air pollution, bacterial infection, vascular disease, inflammatory disease, etc., but these have nothing to do with masks. Even if the risk pulmonary nodules suspected to be malignant are judged by clinicians, more than 90% of them are benign after final examination and exclusion.

Usually there is no need to worry about the pulmonary nodules found in the physical examination. If there are indeed suspicious pulmonary nodules, the doctor often recommends regular checkups several times so that a more accurate judgment can be made.

Will medical masks drop slag?

Qualified medical surgical masks, under normal use, will not drop slag and be inhaled into the lungs to cause harm. Wearing a mask correctly can just protect us from inhaling pathogens or other foreign objects.

Relevant persons pointed out that the melt-blown cloth is the core material of the mask. It uses the petrochemical product polypropylene as the main raw material and has a polymer structure. Under normal circumstances, molecules are bonded together, and it is impossible to “degrade” or “release” small particles. From the perspective of application scenarios, plastic products and related raw materials are widely used around the world, including medical and food, and their applications are becoming more and more widespread. At the same time, plastic products and related raw materials that are qualified for the market must undergo professional testing to meet national and industry standards, and there is no risk of online transmission.

Will the disinfectant of medical masks affect health?

In the production and disinfection process of masks, ethylene oxide is used, which is one of the most important low-temperature sterilization methods at present. Food packaging, baby diapers, sanitary napkins, etc. can all be sterilized with ethylene oxide. It has certain toxicity. If you inhale too much ethylene oxide gas at one time, you will be poisoned on the spot, but only workers in related industries need to take precautions, and ordinary people don’t need to worry about it.

It is precisely because of the toxicity of ethylene oxide that the country has strict standards for the use of ethylene oxide to disinfect masks. Masks sterilized by ethylene oxide contain very little ethylene oxide and will not affect health. According to the industry standard “Medical Surgical Masks” (YY0469-2011), the residual amount of ethylene oxide in masks sterilized by ethylene oxide should not exceed 10 μg/g. In order to meet this standard, masks sterilized with ethylene oxide need to be aired in a ventilated analysis room for 1-2 weeks to wait for the ethylene oxide to dissipate. After that, a sterility test will be carried out after 2 weeks to meet the standard before leaving the factory. A medical mask weighs about 3g and contains a maximum of 30μg of ethylene oxide. It is possible to exceed the standard by swallowing at least 3 masks a day. Therefore, qualified masks purchased from regular channels can be worn with confidence and do not need to be troubled by ethylene oxide.

It can be seen that the disseminators of rumors use so-called professional identities, add some proper nouns, and use the health problems that everyone is exposed to every day and are very concerned about, so that the rumors can be widely spread. It is not intended to bring everyone’s health, but it only increases anxiety, and it also increases the possibility of being infected with the new coronavirus and other pathogens because of people’s resistance to wearing masks.

Good hygienic habits, including wearing masks correctly, are still one of the effective ways to resist the new crown virus. Don’t give up safe and effective protection methods because of some popular rumors, which will bring risks to your health.

Source: Shanghai Internet refute rumors