Mask mandate could have unitended effect

Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. A copy was submitted to The Sentinel for publication.

To the Mifflin County school board and the Department of Education:

The average person in America uses either cloth, or disposable face masks, so I thought I should bring to your attention a disease called Byssinosis, also called Brown Lung. It is a type of asthma first discovered in 1881 by Dr. Bernardino Ramazzini, (ncbi.nim.nih.gov/books/NBK519549), who was dealing with textile workers in the textile mills of Great Britain.

Defined by Merriam-Webster.com it is “an occupational respiratory disease associated with inhalation of cotton, flax, hemp, or (as time has proven) any type or textile dust and characterized initially by chest tightness, shortness of breath, and cough and eventually by irreversible lung disease.”

This is a continuing problem in certain countries that have large textile mills such as India, Pakistan, and Turkey — countries that also have a large population of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

I am bringing this knowledge forward to allow people to know the possible lasting impact of mask wearing on children and adults. To quote a famous doctor at the very beginning of this pandemic,

“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”

It stands to reason that if we cover our faces with any type of cloth to mitigate a virus we are, in essence, inhaling fibers that will lead to Byssinosis. This is especially dangerous for children whose lungs are not yet fully developed.

Knowing that a virus is not really stopped by a cloth mask, we are causing people to damage their lungs. Should they then contract COVID-19 it will make recovery from it that much harder. Even without the threat of COVID-19, a year or two down the road we could see the fruit of the masking mandates as an explosion of Asthma and COPD cases from damaged lungs; “…unintended consequences…,” (Dr. Fauci, 2/2020).

So as every variant comes along and we continue to order mask mandates for children, we are, in essence, causing lung problems for the next generation in order to “…make people feel a little bit better,” (Dr. Fauci, 2/2020). Especially since this virus does not cause children to have the same reaction as older adults.

I am not a scientist, but I am a mother of six who has taken sick children to the doctor only to be told, “It’s a virus, it has to run its course.” Are there things we can do to mitigate some of the symptoms? Yes. But we cannot stop, stomp out, or eradicate this virus. Just as we have to live with other viruses, we need to allow people to build their own immunity to this virus and not cause more damage by mandates that will hurt our children and youth down the road. I submit that it would be better to test people for Covid antibodies. I cannot fathom how there could be any person who does not have some antibodies for COVID after almost two years of this virus spreading across the globe.

Please stop the mask mandate. If people want to wear a mask, that should be their choice. If people don’t want to wear a mask, that should be their choice. Demanding children wear masks is detrimental to their health and that is not in their best interests.

Crystal Jost



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