The Science Behind Taking Off the Mask | Interview with Tyson Gabriel
February 1, 2022
Tyson Gabriel is an industrial hygienist and safety engineer with 20 years of experience. Since the rhetoric on masks went viral, Tyson has delved deep into the research behind the use in public and produced an excellent six-part video series, which can be seen on his website tyscienceguy.com. Tyson joins us today to discuss his findings; the science behind masks, or rather the lack thereof, in substantiating the global pandemic response to support such PPE measures.
On punching holes through the logic of mask mandates…
Research on the masks went mainstream in May or June of 2020…to justify these things. As a consulting firm, we started looking at their methodologies. One of the first studies we looked at, it was a hair salon study down in Missouri, that you could see that 52% of their sample size. The public health team that was in their research didn’t have a grasp of it. It’s a foundational thing for exposure science called the hierarchy of controls. What I saw the pattern of is, every response that we had, including masking, sanitation and hygiene are considered administrative controls, which are higher forms of controls, that should be quantified at a higher level then PPE; it is our last line of defense. It’s the worst control you can use [but] they were coming out with this research saying that no, the PPE is the difference maker. In our industry it is unheard of if we’re putting you in PPE and that’s the last, the only thing we got; you’re in a high-risk situation.
On legitimate mask-use in work environments…
Every work environment is different, so if you go into a medical setting, they have high-level HVAC systems, HPAC systems. They have positive pressure rooms for surgical use, and they have negative pressure rooms for patient use – especially for special pathogen units (SPU). They also have donning and doffing procedures. Think about a construction worker vs. a medical worker; they both use protective measures to mitigate exposures in their work environments, or they use different mechanisms for that, and receive training from their work environment for those measures. What you do in a medical setting is going to be completely different than what you do in a construction setting. In a construction setting, you’re outdoors, you have different pathogens that you can be exposed to. You have different hygiene issues to deal with. You’re going to use different types of respirators…you’ll see an N95 in medical settings, but you can’t apply an N95 outdoors because the N stands for ‘non oil resistant’.
On the groupthink effect of masks…
The [medical professionals] just believe medical myths that were probably founded in whatever school they went to. And, we have to go through a lot of prep actually, with retraining them, helping them understand how things actually are. And the reason [surgery rooms use masks] could be blood spray and you don’t know what [a patient] might be carrying around in their blood. It’s there to protect the doctor, not the patient. This idea that you’re wearing the mask to protect other people, but even doctors aren’t wearing them to protect other people, it’s to protect them.
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