Kourtney Kardashian has prompted outrage by spreading a conspiracy theory about disposable face masks that claims they cause cancer.
The reality TV star shared a screenshot that falsely asserted that blue surgical face masks are made of a carcinogenic material that increases the risk of a variety of diseases and conditions. The text concluded with the inaccurate claim that "high exposure" to the mask material could cause hemorrhaging in the lungs and suffocation.
The post featured a photo of a common single use face mask, used widely by medical professionals and now many regular citizens looking to help the fight against COVID-19.
The American Cancer Society, which Kardashian's post listed as the source of the misinformation, denounced the screenshot in a statement to the New York Post.
"There is no evidence to support the claim that the presence of PTFE in a mask causes cancer," the chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society said.
"As a surgical oncologist, I, along with thousands of colleagues in the healthcare profession, have been wearing masks for years to protect patients from the spread of infections."
Social media users dubbed Kardashian's sharing of the screenshot "utterly unacceptable" and "a new low", especially considering the influence she has with 102 million followers.
"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," one Twitter user wrote.
"Medical professionals worldwide wear them but this screenshot means it's true..."
"It is highly irresponsible of you to post this kind of content knowing the size of your platform, especially in this era where misinformation spreads like wildfire and there is already a problem with mask-adherence and a huge doubt in actual science," another tweet read.
"You know what's really good for you? Wearing a mask and doing your f**king research before posting to MILLIONS of people," offered a third.
Several doctors also took to Twitter to unleash on Kardashian, urging the public and their fellow medical professionals to fight against misinformation.
"Just so unbelievably dangerous," one tweet read.
"Doctors/scientists, we have to keep combating misinformation - no matter how tiring it gets."