FRIDAY, July 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Carbon dioxide levels among children wearing face masks may exceed healthy limits, according to a research letter published online June 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Harald Walach, Ph.D., from the Poznan University of the Medical Sciences in Poland, and colleagues assessed whether nose and mouth coverings increase carbon dioxide in inhaled air. The analysis included 45 children (mean age, 10.7 years) who tested two types of nose and mouth coverings (a surgical mask and a filtering facepiece 2 mask) in a laboratory-like setting.

The researchers found that levels were similar between the masks, with means ranging from 13,120 to 13,910 ppm of carbon dioxide. Only age was associated with carbon dioxide content in inhaled air. The youngest children had the highest carbon dioxide values, with carbon dioxide level measured at up to 25,000 ppm. The limit of 0.2 percent by volume (2,000 ppm) was exceeded by more than threefold among children with the lowest carbon dioxide levels.

“We suggest that decision-makers weigh the hard evidence produced by these experimental measurements accordingly, which suggest that children should not be forced to wear face masks,” the authors write.

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