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  • Writer's pictureRobert O Young DSc, PhD, Naturopathic Practitioner

Does a Cloth or Surgical Mask Provide Protection Against Chemical or Biological Pollutants?

Cloth Masks (CM) and Surgical Masks (SM)

The pores or opening sizes in cloth and surgical masks range from 80 to 500 microns, which is much larger than particular matter (PM) in the nano micro range such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen cyanide(HCN), titanium dioxide (TiO2), aluminum dioxide, carbon dioxide (CO2)l, bacteria, or even bacterphages or exosomes sometimes referred to the virus. Therefore, any of the above cloth or surgical masks are useless and provide no possible protection against PM less than 80 microns and nothing in the nano micron range.(See Figure 1)

Figure 1 - Biologicals and Chemicals Based Upon Size

The filtering efficiency of all six of the above selected masks may potentially filter out PM larger than 80 microns such as pollen, dust or hair. Based upon the sizes of bacteria, yeast, molds, endotoxins, bateriophages, exosomes (so-called viruses), carbon monoxide emissions and factory emissions of nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, aluminum dioxide, including electrical and magnetic fields (EMF), cloth and surgical masks provide absolutely NO filtering efficiency of PM smaller than 80 microns due to their larger open pores present in all cloth and surgical masks. (See Figure 2 - A through F are cloth masks and G through I are surgical masks)

Figure 2 - Using Bright Field Microscopy at 100x You Can See the Open Pores Ranging From 9 to over 500 microns. The Scale Bar in Micrograph A is 500 Microns

Surface Characterization

The representative bright fieldmicroscopy images of different CMs and SMs are shown in Figure 2. Out of 20 CMs (CM1-CM20) imaged, for brevity, images of CM1, CM3, CM7, CM9, CM12, CM18 are shown in A, B, C, D, E, and F, respectively. The bright patches in the bright field microscopy images are the pores present in the masks. All CMs viewed contained two ply (layers) and the surface characteristics of both layers was very similar.

For comparison, you can view the surface of seven different brands of paper/SMs masks available on the market. The SM masks examined contained two or three layers (two or three ply). The surface morphology of the inner, middle, and outer layers of a three ply SM is shown in Figure 2 G, H and I. These micrographs showed a mean range of pores for the CM and the SM from 81 to 461 microns.


Based upon viewing and measuring the pore sizes of the CM and the SM using bright field microscopy at 100x magnification both types of masks were found to be incapable of filtering PM smaller than 81 microns. Because of the size ranges of PM9[see Figure 4], such as tobacco smoke, bacteria, yeast, mold, endotoxins, mycotoxins, exotoxins, exosomes, bacteriophages, air pollutants of nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, aluminum dioxide, EMF, etc. the wearing of a cloth or surgical mask provides no protection from disease causing chemical, biological, electrical or magnetic pollution.[See Figure 3]

Figure 4 - Showing Particulate Matter (PM) Measuring From 0.001 Nano Microns to 10,000 Microns

Additional Questions

1) What type of mask will I need to wear in order to protect myself from small micro particles and even smaller nana particles?

2. Will social distancing provide protection against small micro and even smaller nano particulate matter? The answer is no because micro and nano particles are all around us, especially in the larger cities where you find elevated PM from increased amounts of chemical, biological, electrical and magnetic pollution (EMF).

A Mask nor Social Distancing will NOT Protect YOU From High Levels of Micro and Nano Toxic/Acidic Micro and Nano Particulate Matter Found Daily in New York City, New York


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