Child wearing mask in moshav Haniel
Child wearing mask in moshav HanielChen Leopold/Flash90

A group of clinical researchers are urging policy-makers not to require children to wear face masks, after finding that such masks cause a rapid buildup of carbon dioxide in the air breathed in while wearing masks

In a new study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), entitled “Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children,” Polish researchers found that within just three minutes, the level of carbon dioxide present in the air being breathed in by school children wearing masks was six times higher than the legal limit of 0.2% carbon dioxide by volume (2,000 parts per million), as set by the German Federal Environmental Office. In open-air settings, CO2 levels are about 0.04% by volume, or 400 parts per million.

The air being inhaled by mask-wearing children was also five times higher than the baseline carbon dioxide level without a face mask, averaging between 1.312% to 1.391% depending on the mask worn.

The study, a peer reviewed, randomized clinical trial, used both standard, surgical face masks and masks with filters, but found no significant difference in impact. Joint exhaled and inhaled air with surgical masks averaged 2.65% CO2, compared to 2.677% with filtering masks.

Carbon dioxide levels in the ambient air were consistently kept well under 0.1% during the study, or under half the maximum level set by German authorities, and averaged 0.074%, never rising above 0.083%.

A total of 45 Polish school children were included in the study, ranging in age from 6 to 17, with a median age of 10.7.

The researchers noted that while the study found highly elevated levels of inhaled carbon dioxide after just three minutes, “Children under normal conditions in schools wear such masks for a mean of 270 minutes.”

The child with the lowest level of inhaled carbon dioxide was still breathing in air three times higher than the 0.2% limit (2,000 parts carbon dioxide per million), while the child with the highest level, a seven-year-old, was inhaling air 12.5 times the highest permitted level, at 25,000 parts per million.

Based on the study’s findings, the authors urged policy makers to scrap mask mandates for children.

“We suggest that decision-makers weigh the hard evidence produced by these experimental measurements accordingly, which suggest that children should not be forced to wear face masks.”

The study also cited a large-scale study in Germany, published in the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute this April, which found most children wearing masks suffered from respiratory impairment, declines in oxygen levels, and increased fatigue, as well as more frequent headaches.

Results of study
Results of studyWalach, et al