Do face masks lower our blood oxygen levels? I decided to put it to the test.
But first, let me state my bias: I disagree with face mask mandates. I’ve reviewed randomized controlled trials and find no evidence that masks reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Masks also have many physical, social and, mental harms. So I would love to prove that they cause hypoxia.
To find out I loaded my backpack with surgical tape, my notebook, a MacBook (to record the experiment), an oximeter, a medical-grade surgical mask and a Guy Fawkes mask. Ten minutes later, I had biked to an ideal spot to conduct the experiment: Atop a rather high hill on a wooded trail. Clamping the oximeter on my middle finger, I found my oxygen saturation was at 98% and my heart was thumping 77 beats per minute.
I then conducted four 10-15 minute experiments running up and down the hill with either no mask, a surgical mask, or a surgical mask plus a Fawkes mask. At all times I had my mouth taped shut (to prove I was breathing properly and restrictively through my nose). The following table shows the results:
I started off wearing a surgical mask and the Fawkes mask. I had no problem running, but the feeling of suffocation was intense. My breathing also increased. The Fawkes mask has only two small holes for the nose. After 10 minutes my oxygen saturation dropped from 98% to 86%. Below 90% is considered hypoxic by the Mayo Clinic (at least, at rest). My heart rate only increased 5 bpm.
Taking the Fawkes mask off and another 10 minutes of running brought my O2 up to 93%. That felt better. my heartbeat rose to 99 bpm.
Taking the surgical mask off, however, and continuing with another ten minutes of running made zero difference in the readings or how I felt.
Lastly, I donned both the surgical and Fawkes masks again and ran for another 15 minutes up and down the hill. This time my oxygen held at 90%. With this final round my breathing was more relaxed which might explain the higher blood oxygen saturation.
As has long been my contention, the above experiment shows that the surgical mask makes absolutely no difference in blood oxygen levels. It did not cause hypoxia.
Yes, I know many people say it does. I would argue that such drops in blood oxygen levels were not caused by the mask, but instead caused by the wearer beginning to hyperventilate in reaction to the rise in CO2 the mask causes. I’ll write more about this in future Red Pill Posts.
It’s rather funny to think that our large respiratory system is so inadequate that a thin, breathable, cloth mask would pose such a threat to our oxygen intake. (Plastic Guy Fawkes masks, on the other hand, are a little iffy.)
I’m not trying to defend mask wearing. I’m trying to defend the truth. It’s hard to argue that masks don’t stop the spread of infection, but do stop oxygen absorption. Arguing masks cause hypoxia may only discredit the views of those trying to stop masking mandates. There are enough problems with masks that we don’t need to make any up. And the fact they’re ineffective at stopping illness makes them an unnecessary distraction.
As Gandhi said: “Truth never damages a cause that is just.”
Mind-numbingly boring video evidence of the entire 55-minute experiment is available here.