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WW2 Gasmasks a danger to you health


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#1 dee222

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 06:45 AM

The British health and safety executive have advised that over 90% of all world war 2 gasmasks have asbestos in them and should be destroyed , all

collectors are advised to double bag there masks  of any period ,tape them shut and remove them to a specialist site as a result of these regulation

you can not sell,display unless in a sealed container and labelled after specialist treatment or transport  any item containing asbestos , any one doing so

is subject to a fine or imprisonment, I have a few ww2 masks and later so I am stuffed , what is the position in the U.S. with regard to ww2 gasmasks

is there any advice to collector or museums on this subject of asbestos in the masks as well as other chemical in them .



#2 David D

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 06:54 AM

As far as i am concerned there is nothing like that in the U.S.

 

-Dave



#3 doyler

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 06:55 AM

Im unaware of any regulations here at this time.I would hope there are more pressing issues with the economy, taxes, crime, jobs and heath care costs etc here than worrying about WW2 or WW1 items with asbestos.
This said anyone concerned can send me all of your assault gas masks for disposal.Im sure they are not safe to own and I have a secure containment area for them ;-)

#4 kies99

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:17 AM

Here's a link that also says to do the same with WWI British Brodie helmets:

 

http://www.cleapss.o...for Schools.pdf



#5 dan_the_hun84

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:31 AM

What a bunch of BS....unless you are wearing and breathing through your 70+ year old gas masks (a practice I would never do for several reasons) then there is nothing to worry over, I'm sorry but this seems like someone at some government level needed something to do, as for the brodie helmets, probably not a good idea to get the kiddies play with or chew on the liner, but "remove and double bag, have the liners removed by a licensed contractor"....I don't see a pandemic of children or aged collectors dying from asbestos exposure due to a few old helmets.



#6 strawberry 9

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:47 AM

Should probably stop chewing on mine then.



#7 Thor996

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 08:09 AM

unbelieveable



#8 GeneralCheese

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 08:16 AM

And they wonder why people think the UK is a Nanny state!



#9 Sabrejet

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:12 AM

And they wonder why people think the UK is a Nanny state!

 

Health & Safety issues are a high priority for government agencies here. Most aspects of life and employment are governed by some kind of H&S legislation. Some of it is just plain common sense but some of it is frankly OTT and is studiously ignored by the populace! However, asbestos safety is a high priority since indisputable links were found between inhalation of asbestos particles and various cancers. Thus, any public building where asbestos was used in its construction (and at one time it was commonplace) has to have the asbestos properly removed. The teams that do so dress like soldiers in chemical decontamination suits, such is the risk. For example, a local high school which was built in the 60s was found to have asbestos. It was promptly shut and the students placed in neighbouring schools whilst the asbestos was removed. The whole process took several months. Also, older public buildings maintain an "asbestos log"...documentation relating to any asbestos which was once a part of the structure and has since been removed. This is for the benefit of any construction workers who might be called upon to do some work at the building in the future. Asbestos particles are very toxic and potentially carcinogenic if inhaled, hence the advice dispensed by the government. 



#10 GeneralCheese

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:19 AM

 

Health & Safety issues are a high priority for government agencies here. Most aspects of life and employment are governed by some kind of H&S legislation. Some of it is just plain common sense but some of it is frankly OTT and is studiously ignored by the populace! However, asbestos safety is a high priority since indisputable links were found between inhalation of asbestos particles and various cancers. Thus, any public building where asbestos was used in its construction (and at one time it was commonplace) has to have the asbestos properly removed. The teams that do so dress like soldiers in chemical decontamination suits, such is the risk. For example, a local high school which was built in the 60s was found to have asbestos. It was promptly shut and the students placed in neighbouring schools whilst the asbestos was removed. The whole process took several months. Also, older public buildings maintain an "asbestos log"...documentation relating to any asbestos which was once a part of the structure and has since been removed. This is for the benefit of any construction workers who might be called upon to do some work at the building in the future. Asbestos particles are very toxic and potentially carcinogenic if inhaled, hence the advice dispensed by the government. 

 

I fully understand the risks of asbestos, and when it is found in buildings here it is treated similarly.  I think the whole "destroying" helmets and gas masks is a knee-jerk reaction to an incredibly unlikely scenario, though.  A small amount in something that 99% of the time sits on a shelf undisturbed poses a much smaller risk than insulation, which is torn up in large amounts by construction work.


Edited by GeneralCheese, 01 July 2014 - 09:20 AM.


#11 Sabrejet

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:42 AM

It's just advice covering all bases. There are those collectors who, for example, would be inclined to try on their gas-masks just to see what they felt like. In fact, when I was still a teacher, we had a box of WW2 artefacts at the school which we used to illustrate history lessons about the war. This included helmets and gasmasks which the kids loved to try on! Probably not advisable in the present climate with proven health risks. It begs the question how many soldiers...British and US... who wore their masks for extended periods and who inadvertently might have inhaled asbestos particles and suffered in later life, before the risks were known or understood. 



#12 doyler

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:42 AM

COMMON SENSE AND GOVERNMENT ARE NOT TWO ITEMS THAT ARE COMPATIBLE. WE HAVE HAD REGULATIONS FOR ASBESTOS, LEAD AND OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIAL FOR YEARS.IM NOT SAYING THERE ARE NOT LEGITIMATE CONCERNS AS MANY OF THE MATERIALS THAT ARE OR WERE IN USE ARE STILL PRESENT IN OUR HOMES.JUST ALL THE REGULATIONS WE SEEM TO KEEP IMPLEMENTING HAVE ALSO MADE MANY OF OUR JOBS HERE MORE DIFFICULT OR HAVE PUT AN END TO EMPLOYMENT AS THE RULES OFTEN CANT BE FOLLOWED OR MET SO THE COMPANY'S HERE JUST CLOSE.

#13 doyler

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:54 AM

It's just advice covering all bases. There are those collectors who, for example, would be inclined to try on their gas-masks just to see what they felt like. In fact, when I was still a teacher, we had a box of WW2 artefacts at the school which we used to illustrate history lessons about the war. This included helmets and gasmasks which the kids loved to try on! Probably not advisable in the present climate with proven health risks. It begs the question how many soldiers...British and US... who wore their masks for extended periods and who inadvertently might have inhaled asbestos particles and suffered in later life, before the risks were known or understood. 


Ian

I believe this was a major concern on older naval ships here in the US.Much of the insulation was asbestos based and the steam and water and other structures were covered in asbestos based material.

We still y ave some boiler lines at work covered in white insulating material.Some are even showing areas of white chalk exposed areas.No one is wanting to address it.Im sure because of the costs to clean it up.Plus we also have areas where transformer oil was dumped and quite commonly used back in the day to spray areas to keep the weeds down.Transformer oil is high in pcb.When it rains and I see the water standing in a park behind our two ajoining companies I often wonder about the run off that has accumulated from years of this pcb oil, spray and the creosote and now Penta chemical used to treat poles.Really makes you want to go play in the dirt.

#14 Sabrejet

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 10:03 AM

Yes Ron....and don't mention the billions of cigarettes the US government issued to its troops because they were deemed to be "good" for them!  :o



#15 jgawne

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 10:21 AM

The reaction to asbestos is a bit of an over reaction.

 

The EPA (in the US) has decided that "one fiber can kill!" when it really is not that bad. Yes, it is a hazard, but in some cases, depending upon fiber size and amount, its not a big deal.  Everyone wants to err on the side of caution to be safe, but I cannot tell you how many times I have played with asbestos in many forms (even owned a big chink of it in my rock collection  as a kid) and I don't lose any sleep over it.

 

Asbestos removal companies over due it for two reasons- 1. they can charge more, and 2. they don't want to be held liable in the future of anyone comes down with a lung issue (which may have nothing to do with the exposure at all).

 

So just don't panic, use reasonable caution, and don't be stupid about it.



#16 Sabrejet

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:31 AM

Asbestos-Warning-Labels-07400-ba.gif



#17 doyler

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:57 AM

The reaction to asbestos is a bit of an over reaction.

 

The EPA (in the US) has decided that "one fiber can kill!" when it really is not that bad. Yes, it is a hazard, but in some cases, depending upon fiber size and amount, its not a big deal.  Everyone wants to err on the side of caution to be safe, but I cannot tell you how many times I have played with asbestos in many forms (even owned a big chink of it in my rock collection  as a kid) and I don't lose any sleep over it.

 

Asbestos removal companies over due it for two reasons- 1. they can charge more, and 2. they don't want to be held liable in the future of anyone comes down with a lung issue (which may have nothing to do with the exposure at all).

 

So just don't panic, use reasonable caution, and don't be stupid about it.

 

Kinda like I have to tell the people at work not to eat the pink mint in the urinal......



#18 SergeantMajorGray

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 01:48 PM

Should probably stop chewing on mine then.

 

I like to eat soup out of mine.



#19 SergeantMajorGray

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 01:50 PM

Focus on a real issue for once and quite trying to end peoples hobbies.



#20 MAW

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 03:55 PM

Like the "old man" on Pawn Stars likes to say.....  "Aw my Gawwwdddd!"

 

 

And the idiocy continues.....

 

 

When WW1 helmets are outlawed, only outlaws will have WW1 helmets.

 

 

Anyone who has original WW1 5th, 6th, or 6th MG Bn. Marine helmets that they want to send to the dump, I'll provide free shipping and take care of the disposal for you.  Send them my way.



#21 Thor996

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 04:52 PM

thats right kiddies worry about the potential threat from uncle charlies old helmet  but don't look while unkie sam poisons your water with flouride, chlorine and God knows what else,  lets corporations pump carcinogens into your food and call it 'flavor enhancer' or 'preservative' and have doctors insist you to take pills that will transform your arthritis pain into cancer. Just be careful now and stay away from them nasty old war things they could kill you if you should happen to sniff a fiber.........


Edited by Thor996, 01 July 2014 - 04:53 PM.


#22 warguy

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 05:45 PM

Okay, I will violate my own self imposed oath to stay out of political debates here on the forum. Passion forces me to make a couple brief comments.

In 1995, I lost my father. He was a young 53 years old when diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer specifically attributed to asbestos exposure. He was a boiler tender on a destroyer in the USN in 1957-1961. He recalled specifically many occasions when he had to strip loose asbestos insulation from pipes in order to make repairs, or in some cases, remove equipment from packing material containing loose asbestos. What has been already said is true, that loose asbestos is the danger. It can either be inhaled or swallowed. If inhaled, the fiber(s) imbed in the lining of the lung. This was what had happened in my fathers case. If swallowed, it imbeds in the stomach lining. Cancer is likely to develop. Sadly, the cancer "incubates" for as long as 25 to 30 years before symptoms develop. I don't know if medical treatment has developed in the past 18 years, but when my father was diagnosed, it was always terminal. He was extremely healthy-didn't smoke, didn't drink, was two years from a retirement in a career in the fire service and the best man I have ever known. Make no mistake about it, he died as a result of serving his country-it just took 25 years to catch up to him.

Having said that, I also don't believe that WWI helmets or gas masks are a real danger (so no, MAW, you cannot have the USMC 6th Marine helmet depicted as my Avatar). Having said that, I would not tear apart the liner of a WWI helmet or try on or disturb the contents of a gas mask. We are surrounded by asbestos-it is in old floor tiles, dry wall, brake pads, etc. For those who care to research it, the Government (the US Government that is) knew the ill effects of asbestos in the 1940's and refused to remove it from the market place predominantly because the alternative was the fiberglass used today, and fiberglass as a skin irritant resulted at that time in having to pay .50 an hour more to those workers handling it. So in other words, despite the extreme dangers posed by asbestos, it wasn't eliminated because of the almighty dollar. I for one, will not be playing Russian roulette with whether one fiber can kill you or not. This is a terrible disease. My father suffered a terrible death at an age far too young. For those who don't know, Steve McQueen suffered the same fate. He too was a Navy veteran.

So in the end, while I too believe there are some pretty ridiculous Government regulations out there, those who have been exposed to the horrible effects of mesothelioma understand first hand the true dangers of asbestos. For what it is worth-Kevin

#23 Thor996

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 06:17 PM

Okay, I will violate my own self imposed oath to stay out of political debates here on the forum. Passion forces me to make a couple brief comments.

In 1995, I lost my father. He was a young 53 years old when diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer specifically attributed to asbestos exposure. He was a boiler tender on a destroyer in the USN in 1957-1961. He recalled specifically many occasions when he had to strip loose asbestos insulation from pipes in order to make repairs, or in some cases, remove equipment from packing material containing loose asbestos. What has been already said is true, that loose asbestos is the danger. It can either be inhaled or swallowed. If inhaled, the fiber(s) imbed in the lining of the lung. This was what had happened in my fathers case. If swallowed, it imbeds in the stomach lining. Cancer is likely to develop. Sadly, the cancer "incubates" for as long as 25 to 30 years before symptoms develop. I don't know if medical treatment has developed in the past 18 years, but when my father was diagnosed, it was always terminal. He was extremely healthy-didn't smoke, didn't drink, was two years from a retirement in a career in the fire service and the best man I have ever known. Make no mistake about it, he died as a result of serving his country-it just took 25 years to catch up to him.

Having said that, I also don't believe that WWI helmets or gas masks are a real danger (so no, MAW, you cannot have the USMC 6th Marine helmet depicted as my Avatar). Having said that, I would not tear apart the liner of a WWI helmet or try on or disturb the contents of a gas mask. We are surrounded by asbestos-it is in old floor tiles, dry wall, brake pads, etc. For those who care to research it, the Government (the US Government that is) knew the ill effects of asbestos in the 1940's and refused to remove it from the market place predominantly because the alternative was the fiberglass used today, and fiberglass as a skin irritant resulted at that time in having to pay .50 an hour more to those workers handling it. So in other words, despite the extreme dangers posed by asbestos, it wasn't eliminated because of the almighty dollar. I for one, will not be playing Russian roulette with whether one fiber can kill you or not. This is a terrible disease. My father suffered a terrible death at an age far too young. For those who don't know, Steve McQueen suffered the same fate. He too was a Navy veteran.

So in the end, while I too believe there are some pretty ridiculous Government regulations out there, those who have been exposed to the horrible effects of mesothelioma understand first hand the true dangers of asbestos. For what it is worth-Kevin

 

sorry for your loss. I for one wasn't trying to make light of mesothelioma or any other horrible disease- just mocking the absurdity of government over kill regulations that seem to be coming out of the woodwork lately in barrel fulls.

 

I had an uncle who was on one of those old tin cans in the late 50s and he served in the boiler room-and not only was he exposed to asbestos- he and his shipmates were NUKED at Eniwetok atoll to boot by our government. We didn't do an autopsy after he passed but I'd be willing to bet his lung issues [emphysema he said the doctor told him he had] could have possibly came from the same sources as your father's cancer.

 

.


Edited by Thor996, 01 July 2014 - 06:27 PM.


#24 oldabewla

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 06:26 PM

If these WWII gas mask are so bad why are these WWII Veterans living in their 90's and on???  I see more people dying of cancer in their 60's as a result of being heavy alcoholic drinkers but yet it dosen't stop me from having a beer every now and then.

 

Craig



#25 Ewart

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:31 PM

Doing a bit of research on this. It is not the gas masks, more the filters that are the issue. 

 

Health and Safety Executive HSE Northern Ireland initially issued the following advice to local schools:

 

'In order to minimise the risk to pupils and staff in schools where masks are present,

HSENI would instruct that if any school owns or has been loaned World War II gas masks to be used in displays or during course work in class these should be removed immediately.'

This I would have thought is to prevent any claims against the school/education authority. Although they do state that the schools should then return the mask to the owner if the item has been loaned. 

 

Whilst the Imperial War Museum states;

 

'As regards handling, display and storage, it has been IWM policy for some years to seal all filters on gas masks that are to be used for handling and display; the sealing of filters in the reserve collection has also now commenced. Sealing causes limited damage and can be undertaken by a conservator. But sealing is not always a solution, especially for filters that are damaged, or where the asbestos has already begun to break down. In such cases the asbestos will need removing professionally or, more feasibly, a better condition mask will need acquiring, with the damaged example safely discarded.

Gas masks that have been sealed should not be worn, in case there is a leak from the seal. They can, however, be handled in safety.'

 

It is all about ensuring exposure to potentially dangerous asbestos is kept to a minimum.

 

However the following came from the HSE in a 2013 meeting:

 

Sale of second hand gas masks

 

26. HSE has received complaints that a number of second hand gas masks, dating back to World War II, have been made available for sale online and at trade fairs specialising in militaria. The masks are sought out by collectors and those engaged in historical re-enactments. It is claimed that some of these masks may contain asbestos in the filters. If so, not only is this a health hazard but the sale of such items is prohibited by REACH. HSE is attempting to determine the scale of the problem (including estimating the number and type of gas mask that may contain asbestos). 

 

I believe in the UK it is illegal to send asbestos through the postal system.

 




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