Chris Schaefer, speaking from Alberta on masking, is a respirator specialist with 28 years in occupational health and safety, and has worked as an advisor and trainer for the military and for emergency departments, given his qualifications in the field of respiratory protection. Schaefer smartly challenged the now popular notion of “masks,” noting that masks have openings in front of the nose and mouth—such as a Halloween mask or a goalie mask. Respirator masks also have openings, using valves that allow for inhalation of clean air. What we have instead used these two years are breathing barriers, or breathing obstructions—not masks. Breathing barriers force us to re-inhale much of our exhaled air, with reduced levels of oxygen. Masks are safe to wear, because they have engineered openings to allow air to circulate; what we have in common use, are not masks.
In response to questions from the panel, he explained that in the field of occupational health there were no studies or impact assessments done on the use of the current crop of so-called “masks”. He warns that these barriers force us to breathe in bacteria and fungi, from the moist and warm environment created under the barrier. There are also hazards to wearing N95 devices, because of the particles that are released and inhaled during prolonged use. On June 20, 2020, he wrote an open letter to Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and copied it to multiple doctors, on why use of the breathing barriers was a mistake. He never received a reply. He offered to share the correspondence with the panel.