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VERIFY: No, your mask won't give you CO2 poisoning

Some online claims say masks can trap CO2 and poison you. Our VERIFY team found out that's not possible.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Along with our cell phones and wallets, many of us no longer leave the house without our face masks.

While they aren't fool-proof, health experts still insist they can help prevent spreading COVID-19.

But some are wondering: could masks cause unintended health issues?

Below is the original post from social media which says masks can trap carbon dioxide or CO2. It claims we can breathe in that excess CO2 and it could lead to poisoning.

Credit: VERIFY

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First off, it is true CO2 can be dangerous, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture says only at very high levels.

ProMedica Dr. Brian Kaminski argues masks don't pose much of a risk.

"There is plenty of air exchange that occurs through all different mask types, including the N95s we wear in the hospital," Kaminski said.

"It would actually be impossible for there to be a significant amount of carbon dioxide buildup just because the space in front of the mask is so small that there's just not enough space there for carbon dioxide to accumulate," he added. 

With that said, the CDC does recommend folks who have trouble breathing don't wear masks.

But overall, Dr. Kaminski said wearing masks is simply something we need to get used to.

"People generally feel uncomfortable, myself included, wearing a mask all day long," he said. "When you put it over your face it feels suffocating, it feels restrictive, it's awkward, it's irritating, and it's something that we're just not used to."

Boiled down: we can VERIFY masks do NOT pose a risk for CO2 poisoning. There just isn't enough space between your face and the mask for the gas to build up.


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