US media personality, Kourtney Kardashian has received backlash for claiming face masks cause cancer with no medical evidence.
The reality TV star has been accused of spreading false information and fearmongering to her 102 million followers at a time when people urgently need to be fed accurate information.
In the Instagram story Kourtney wrote, “Those blue masks mandated at grocery stores and airplanes are made of PTFE, a carcinogen made from synthetic fluoride. According to cancer.org it increases the risk of liver, testicle, pancreas kidney & breast tumors + ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, preeclampsia and high cholesterol. High exposure can cause influenza like symptoms and Hemorrhaging in the lungs leading to suffocation”.
Many of her followers reacted by reminding her that she recently made staff wear masks when her entire family travelled to a tropical island for her sister Kim’s 40th birthday.
There is currently no medical evidence to support the claims in Kourtney's post and according to reuters fact check, a team of global health scientists and infection preventionists at the Meedan Digital Health Lab says these claims on social media are false.
Health experts say there is no evidence that surgical masks or cloth masks cause significant deficiency of oxygen, a build-up of carbon dioxide, and other related negative health consequences. “This information has been primarily circulating on social media among individuals or communities resistant to mask-wearing in general.”
Even though South Africa has taken steps to ease back into "normal" life, it is still very important we continue to wear masks.
Here are five reasons why:
1. They reduce viral transmission. Experts say surgical masks and cloth coverings can reduce the viral transmission by 70% if they are worn correctly by everyone. When you are wearing a mask, make sure you cover your mouth and nose areas at all times.
2. They prevent asymptomatic spread. Wearing a mask is an easy way to reduce the risk of unknowingly spreading the infection. Masks prevent the spread of the virus among people, objects and services.
3. Masks prevent you from touching your face. We are all in the habit of touching our faces, but a mask is there as a reminder not to touch your face after touching any object or surface.
4. They form part of the Covid-19 health regulations set by the World Health Organization. Wearing a mask is compulsory all over the world as per the precautions highlighted by WHO. It is unlawful to leave the premises of your house without wearing a mask.
5. Wearing a mask protects you from contracting the virus in public spaces. When out in public for work purposes or doing necessary chores, masks prevent you from contracting the virus by being in public spaces.