In general the body tries to protect itself from invading foreign objects. Among the body’s defense methods are (simplistically described) expulsion, digestion, and isolation.
Examples of expulsion are the body’s escalator-like mucus ciliary lined passages in the lungs plus the coughing reflex that move particles upwards into the mouth to be swallowed for ejection through the digestive tract.
The body has scavenger immune cells, organ lining cells, and some organ cells that will consume plus digest foreign particles.
When the body cannot eliminate a foreign particle by ejection or dissolving it; then the body attempts to protect itself by isolating (i.e., sequestering and walling off) the difficult particle at its location inside the body. The body does not give up, but relentlessly continues to repeatedly attack the isolated particle. These chronic irritation situations can lead to long term consequences. The “walling off” isolation takes up space that reduces the capacity of the organ. The body’s constant attacks release substances that damages local cells. This constant damage and repair can eventually lead to scarring, tumors, or cancer.
One does not want to breath anything of a certain size that is small enough to get very deep into the lungs while at the same time being too large to be readily ejected. However, one is still okay should these wrong sized particles still be digestible by the body. When one is exposed to any foreign particles that are the “bad" size plus they also cannot be digested, then one WANTS TO WEAR (or should want to wear) a mask that prevents things smaller than 0.3 microns from getting deep into their lungs.
Some common examples known to cause these kinds of long term medical problems are cellulose (wood dust), silica (rock dust), asbestos, glass dust, carbon dust, metal dust, etc.
Simply wearing a cheap easily obtainable mask (even when it does not fit perfectly or doesn’t filter ideally) is a tremendous benefit to one’s long term health. If the mask is not so clogged that one cannot breath through it, then it is still doing good. Even a bandana over the nose and mouth is significantly beneficial. YES, wear a mask!
PROUDLY an Irredeemable Deplorable
Of course! Saliva contains water. Water is a deadly substance. Just investigate all the human deaths that have been associated with water somehow!
Everything needs to be balanced with practicality and common sense. I once attended a lecture by Dr. Ames who developed the incredibly sensitive “Ames Test” for determining even the slightest mutagenic activity of a chemical in bacteria. He developed the test as a scientific tool rather than as a method to regulate or ban possible carcinogens. During his lecture he railed bitterly about how he was appalled by the regulatory misuse of his research tool to ban all sorts of useful chemicals that had been demonstrated to have carcinogenic activity only at minute unrealistic concentrations. The dose makes the poison! As Dr. Ames pointed out, even the deadliest poison or carcinogen cannot harm anyone at only a few parts per billion. So demonstrating carcinogenic activity at a few parts per billion of anything is meaningless. Yet those who want to regulate us to death have banned many good useful things on this basis.
This might explain why I am the way I am – LOL. In grade school I had obtained a baby food jar filled with pure metal mercury. It became a favorite toy. We had no air-conditioning until I was an adult. During the oppressively hot dog days of summer, I would entertain myself for hours by rolling the heavy ball of mercury around on my hot bedroom floor (worst possible exposure). Later in life one of the technicians in my lab accidently dropped a mercury thermometer on the floor resulting in a very tiny ball of mercury on the laboratory floor. My technicians dutifully reported the “hazard” as they had been trained. In an absolutely ridiculous response, the University sealed off my lab plus sent a young girl wearing a completely self-contained hazmat suit with oxygen tanks. Her job while wearing huge protective gloves was to maneuver this tiny ball of mercury into a glass test tube and then to seal it with a cork. This was an almost impossible task in her clumsy protection. I had very valuable months of research that was going to be ruined by this long delay for ridiculous reasons. I became angry. I tore down the warning tape across the lab door, took the test tube from the girl, pushed her out of the way, and use my bare hands to put the mercury into the test tube. I knew from firsthand practical experience in my past that this tiny amount of exposure to mercury could never harm me. Of course, I got in a lot of trouble for my “dangerous” behavior.
Like others in this thread, I have actually done everything wrong. I have been overexposed to unusually dangerous chemicals, many different types of radiation, and other hazards that many would not normally encounter. Yet, I am over 66 years old with no medical problems. The regulators have people unreasonably frightened of their shadows over many relatively harmless potential hazards. I do believe that it is very reasonable to protect yourself when it is easy and practical. If I am going to be creating wood dust, carbon arrow shaft dust, or flint dust from knapping; then I am going to wear a mask. This is particularly true when it is voluntarily my choice. No free man should be forced to protect himself by a government agency!
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