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Horowitz: How OSHA magically ‘evolved’ from years of its own research stating masks are not valid protection
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Horowitz: How OSHA magically ‘evolved’ from years of its own research stating masks are not valid protection

OSHA repeatedly said masks do not protect

"Asbestos particles are on average 5 microns, which are much larger than SARS-CoV-2, yet nobody in my field – industrial hygiene – would recommend that we could protect workers from asbestos exposure using a mask," said Stephen Petty, a certified industrial hygienist and hazardous exposure expert, on my podcast last week. "In fact, I would argue that you'd lose your credentials for saying such a thing."

The notion that cheap cloth and surgical masks are considered proper protection, much less bona fide PPE, for a virus that is 0.1 microns – 1/50th the size of average asbestos fiber – was always absurd. And the fact that this virus spread for two entire subsequent waves after masks became universal, with zero evidence they played any role in altering the natural course of the virus – is proof of this universal fact that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and other agencies that dealt with hazardous exposure always understood.

For respiratory protection, OSHA has the Respiratory Protection Standard — RPS (29 CFR 1910.134), which has strict prescriptive requirements for use of respirators. Masks are not part of the RPS because they cannot be fit-tested – and OSHA knows this. Only fitted respirators can help protect against particles anywhere near the size of viruses. A surgical mask is absolutely not considered PPE, and even if it were, it would work as well as a chain-link fence in front of swarming gnats.

Mask-wearing has become such a religious sacrament that people will place them on their toddlers for hours, they will exercise in them, and they will engage in all sorts of contradictory and absurd behavior that implicitly ascribes super-magical powers to cheap Chinese cloths. Yet few people remember what OSHA has said for years about the issue of masks and protection against viruses.

In order to remind a nation under an unfathomable psychosis of "toxic maskulinity," here is your handy timeline of statements OSHA made about masks when the agency was actually trying to follow science and properly protect people, not engage in politics and virtue-signaling. As you read through it, you will understand why Ian Miller's more than 100 mask charts demonstrate that masks have never worked anywhere against this virus.

May 2009: OSHA Fact Sheet: Respiratory Infection Control: Respirators Versus Surgical Masks

While explaining that surgical masks only work for splashes or large droplets, OSHA made it clear: "Surgical masks are not designed or certified to prevent the inhalation of small airborne contaminants." OSHA goes on to say: "Their ability to filter small particles varies significantly based upon the type of material used to make the surgical mask, so they cannot be relied upon to protect workers against airborne infectious agents."

December 16, 2009: Video: The Difference Between Respirators and Surgical Masks

In this video, the narrator says very emphatically, "A surgical mask is not a respirator, and that's an important distinction for you and your employer to understand." The video is targeted mainly at health care workers. "Face masks are not designed or certified to seal tightly against your face or to prevent the inhalation of small airborne contaminants." The video also says: "Remember, face masks are not considered respirators and they do not provide respiratory protection."

January 2011: Respiratory Protection for Health Care Workers Training Video

OSHA again reiterates that while face masks, including surgical and medical procedure masks, protect against splashes, they "are not designed or certified to seal tightly against your face or to prevent the inhalation of small airborne contaminants" (at 9:20). As the video shows arrows of contaminants getting around and through the mask, the narrator declares, "During inhalation, small airborne contaminants pass through gaps between the face and the face mask and the material of the mask." The narrator emphasizes again, "Remember, face masks are not considered respirators and do not provide respiratory protection."

May 2015: Hospital Respiratory Protection Program Toolkit

Per this 96-page resource for respirator program administrators, on the very first page, it states that it contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. These are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. In this resource, OSHA indicates: "Facemasks are not considered respiratory protection."

December 20, 2017: OSHA letter from worker requesting clarification of OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard

In response to a question by the writer as to whether surgical masks should be permitted on a voluntary basis when respiratory protection is not required, OSHA states: "Surgical masks do not seal tightly to the wearer's face, nor do they provide a reliable level of protection from inhaling smaller airborne particles."

April 2020: Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus (a poster)

This was OSHA's initial guidance to employers on how to deal with the virus in the workplace. The agency recommend disinfecting the room and limiting the number of people, which is in line with long-standing protocol, but did not mention a word about masking, presumably because the idea of a mask blocking a virus would be absurd.

However, at some unknown point, OSHA placed a disclaimer on the top of this poster stating the following: "Given the evolving nature of the pandemic, OSHA is in the process of reviewing and updating this document. These materials may no longer represent current OSHA recommendations and guidance. For the most up-to-date information, consult Protecting Workers Guidance."

Clearly, those promulgating this material didn't want to show their work and accentuate the point that they never believed masks worked, but still had to broadly notify people that the science is "evolving."

January 29, 2021: Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace

Now, roughly eight months after mask-wearing became a national religion, they suddenly change their tune with this "guidance," which appears to be updated periodically. Under the section "What Workers Need to Know about COVID-19 Protections in the Workplace," this document states:

  • Face coverings are simple barriers to help prevent your respiratory droplets or aerosols from reaching others. Not all face coverings are the same; the CDC recommends that face coverings be made of at least two layers of a tightly woven breathable fabric, such as cotton, and should not have exhalation valves or vents.
  • The main function of a face covering is to protect those around you, in case you are infected but not showing symptoms. Studies show that face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.
  • Although not their primary value, studies also show that face coverings can reduce wearers' risk of infection in certain circumstances, depending upon the face covering.
  • You should wear a face covering even if you do not feel sick. This is because people with COVID-19 who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic) and those who are not yet showing symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can still spread the virus to other people.

Notice carefully how they slipped in the word "or aerosols" in expressing the disproven assumption of mask efficacy, which stands in opposition to years of their own research, but then when they speak about the actual "studies" on efficacy, they only identify "spray of droplets" as the extent of effective protection from masks. Note also the "emotional persuasion" argument to falsely suggest you help others by wearing a mask, not yourself.

As anyone with a scintilla of logic recognizes, very few people, especially with everyone keeping so far away from each other, are spitting into each other's mouths with visible droplets that would be large enough for masks to block. In no way could such a rare occurrence account for the rapid spread of tens of millions of cases long after people wore the masks as regularly as pant and shirts.

Recently, Biden's former top epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm, joined a group of scientists criticizing the CDC for continuing to downplay aerosol transmission and not updating its indoor guidance based on this fact. But it was OSHA that said for years that masks absolutely do not work for aerosols.

As the FDA says on its website until this very day, masks do not work for airborne-transmitted viruses, only to "block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter," which is not the primary transmission method of the virus. The FDA also says, "Surgical masks are not intended to be used more than once," guidance rarely abided by as a result of the mask mandate.

Absurdly, on OSHA's "evolving" web page on "Control and Prevention," the agency plainly recommends that workers "wear cloth face coverings." Buried deep down in the document, though, is a memorial to the pre-political scientific view: "Surgical masks are not respirators and do not provide the same level of protection to workers as properly-fitted respirators. Cloth face coverings are also not acceptable substitutes for respirators."

So they openly admit cloth masks are worthless, and then toss out an unverifiable throwaway line that surgical masks "do not provide the same level of protection," when they know all too well that they provide no level of protection for the small aerosols, which are what really gets into people's lungs.

The fact that everyone universally understood this until last April, and the fact that every place that had an ironclad mask mandate in place for months with low cases, such as Los Angeles and the Czech Republic, yet still suffered from the most prolific spread in the world in later months, should make it clear that the long-standing guidance predating COVID politics is the authentic science.

Last June, after mask-wearing had already morphed into a budding religious cult, Cambridge and Greenwich Universities published a study predicting that universal mask-wearing would prevent a second wave. As Reuters explained their findings, "Even homemade masks can dramatically reduce transmission rates if enough people wear them in public."

Well, it wasn't just "enough" people who wore them, but it became universal with the sternness of nothing we've ever seen before in society. Yet there were two more waves of the virus subsequently that were greater than the first wave, especially in the areas with strict lockdowns and mask-wearing. But to this day, they will look us in the face and say we need masks to prevent the fourth wave, as if the world began yesterday.

It's not merely a problem of collateral damage – in which government is forcing children to suffer long-term mental and physical health problems from prolonged mask-wearing in return for zero protection from the virus. It's that they are offering people who are legitimately vulnerable to the virus a false sense of security that masking will protect them indoors when they know quite well that anyone advocating this for other hazards as small in size as this virus would lose their job over such a recommendation.

As Stephen Petty said on my podcast, the way his profession always deals with exposure risks is to employ engineering controls, which include destruction, dilution, or containment. For a fraction of the cost we've spent on destroying and then subsidizing the entire economy, we could have focused on filtration systems or self-cleaning systems that would actually have protected people. Just as on the pharmaceutical side, our government focused on expensive and ineffective treatments rather than cheap established drugs and supplements that could have fortified most people against the virus, it likewise focused on lockdowns and masks as an illusory means of exposure protection rather than actually killing the virus.

How much science are our government officials willing to distort, and how many lives are they willing to sacrifice for an article of faith that has already been disproven by two uncontrolled waves after universal mask-wearing became a fundamentalist religion? Exactly as long as we allow it to continue.

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Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz

Blaze Podcast Host

Daniel Horowitz is the host of “Conservative Review with Daniel Horowitz” and a senior editor for Blaze News.
@RMConservative →