Reality star Kourtney Kardashian came under fire for an ‘utterly unacceptable’ Instagram post promoting a conspiracy theory that claims face masks cause cancer. Last Saturday, the 41-year-old star posted a health warning about the blue disposable masks commonly worn by people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The health warning claimed that masks can cause cancer due to chemical PTFE. Cancer.org, denounced the unfounded claims.
Chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society said, “There is no evidence to support the claim that the presence of PTFE in a mask causes cancer.” Kourtney was condemned by Twitter users for spreading false information and fear-mongering during a time when people should be slowing the spread of the virus.
Kourtney has over 102 million followers on Instagram. She posted a claim on her Instagram stories on Saturday saying that blue surgical face masks are ‘made of PTFE, a carcinogen made from synthetic fluoride.’
‘According to Cancer.Org it increases the risk of liver, testicle, pancreas, kidney & breast tumors + ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, preeclampsia and high cholesterol. High exposure can cause influenza-like symptoms and hemorrhaging in the lungs, leading to suffocation.’
Kourtney’s post had an image of a typical blue disposable surgical mask, which are used by medical personnel across the globe, and now many citizens.
She captioned the post – which is not attributed to any particular study or research papers – with a wide-eyed emoji and a head-exploding emoji.
Netizens criticised the reality star, saying that she and the rest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan had travelled to a tropical island for her sister Kim Kardashian’s birthday party during the pandemic where they made staff wear masks.
There is currently no evidence to support the claims in Kourtney’s post and despite it citing the American Cancer Society, a member of the organisation denounced the medical warning.
In a statement to the New York Post, Dr. William Cance, chief medical and scientific officer of the ACS, said: ‘There is no evidence to support the claim that the presence of PTFE in a mask causes cancer,
‘As a surgical oncologist, I, along with thousands of colleagues in the health-care profession, have been wearing masks for years to protect patients from the spread of infections,’ he added.
PTFE, also known as polytetrafluoroethylene is a man-made chemical which can be found on certain items like nonstick pans with Teflon coatings.
It is not proven, and nothing on the ACS site that suggests commonly-used masks cause cancer. There is some research that PTFE in a compound can become harmful when it is on an object that is heated to at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit, releasing fumes.
Twitter users were disappointed and furious at Kourtney’s misinformed post and they questioned why the mother-of-three would discourage people from wearing masks at a crucial time.
An NHS doctor from the UK, Dr Joshua Wolrich, didn’t hold back when he tweeted over the weekend: ‘It’s one thing for a random people on social media to claim that masks cause cancer… it’s another for @kourtneykardash to be doing so on her Instagram stories to >100 million followers. UTTERLY F**KING UNACCEPTABLE.’
Another user @ZoeT chimed in, ‘The scariest thing to happen on Halloween this year is Kourtney Kardashian posting this utterly ridiculous post about blue masks with no medical evidence or proof, it’s just some random screenshot.
‘Medical professionals worldwide wear them but this screenshot means it’s true…’
‘I’d suggest she stick to life style blogging instead of playing pretend doctor’ came another comment.
Another Twitter user, @Kodeerants, posted ‘Hey @kourtneykardash, do some research before spreading misinformation to your millions of followers & also WEAR YOUR MASKS’
The Kardashian clan were highly criticised for travelling amid the coronavirus pandemic and using their privilege to fly to an island on a Boeing 777.
Upon arrival, they were handed keys to their own private villas on the beach.
TMZ claims Kim specifically picked out an island that hadn’t seen any cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began, and asked all of her guests to quarantine for two weeks before the trip and get multiple tests.