Governments, Science Agencies Must Educate People On How To Avoid Air Pollution Risks, Opinion Piece Urges

Nature: Face masks could raise pollution risks
Wei Huang, professor in the Faculty of Environmental Health at Peking University School of Public Health, and Lidia Morawska, professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Queensland University of Technology

“…Hardly any clinical studies have tested how effective medical masks are against air pollution, or how people use them. It is hard to predict individual risks because people’s exposures and health statuses vary widely. We worry that wearing masks could even make the problem worse. They have the potential to lull people into a false sense of security, encouraging them to spend more time outside in dirty air. … Governments and scientists need to educate the public and health workers about the correct ways to avoid risks from polluted air. Researchers need to establish what protections might be valuable in some circumstances. But the only long-term solution is to clean the air. Until then, the message is the same: stay indoors as much as possible when pollution levels are high…” (10/1).