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WW1 Gas mask filter dangerous?

Started by CharliesYearOldYogurt , Feb 15 2017 04:19 PM

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#1 CharliesYearOldYogurt

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:19 PM

Hello, 

I recently bought a WW1 US green box respirator. I am very worried if the thing does contain dangerous chemicals in the filter. I have read conflicting reports on the subject. Please add as much info as possible on the subject. Thanks!

 



#2 stealthytyler

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:21 PM

Did you already put it on an breath through the filter? 



#3 Mr.Jerry

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:24 PM

Hello,

well anything that was "sucked in" would still be present, albeit in small amounts. in addition, the filters themselves contained asbestos.

That all being said, as long as you don't wear it, and breathe it in or rip the canister apart, it is fairly inert.

(and I would be more concerned with sucking in 100 years of dust & spider poop)


Edited by Mr.Jerry, 15 February 2017 - 04:25 PM.


#4 David D

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:34 PM

I believe they were filled with charcoal. Can someone confirm?

#5 doyler

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:37 PM

I would rather handle a WW1 gasmask than year old yogurt......


Edited by doyler, 15 February 2017 - 04:38 PM.


#6 5thwingmarty

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:37 PM

They did contain asbestos as part of the filter system.  The asbestos in them was the inspiration for the Kent cigarettes with asbestos in the filters.  As stated, don't put it on and suck air through it but don't freak out about it either.



#7 CharliesYearOldYogurt

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 07:16 PM

I emailed the Imperial War Museum to ask if they knew anything about the topic



#8 doyler

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 07:20 PM

 

 Pretty in depth topic by our own WW! Nerd on the forum.

 

Well worth the read if intrested in WW1 material

 

http://www.usmilitar...ww1 gas masks



#9 gwb123

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 08:19 PM

This topic comes up every now and then.  The consensus is that any masks that were actually exposed to an attack were most likely cleaned during the period or destroyed (at least the filters).

 

As far as materials used in the manufacture, that is a different matter as noted.

 

I think when I was younger, I made the mistake of putting on an old mask just to see what it was like.  Once was enough as far as antiques.

 

As far a modern M17 mask, wearing them on active duty was enough again to make it undesirable.



#10 CharliesYearOldYogurt

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:14 PM

So then whats the decision, is there or is there not asbestos. I read this web page http://1914-1918.inv...pirator-filter/ about a guy who actually dissected the filter and he says he found charcoal, mesh, and cotton. Could the cotton have been confused w/ asbestos???



#11 5thwingmarty

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:30 PM

What he thought was cotton could have been white chrysotile asbestos.  Some of the respirator filters also had blue crocidolite asbestos.  The wisest course of action would be to not open up the filter section or blow any air through it.



#12 David D

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:41 PM

I've heard asbestos from half the people and others say no asbestos. Is there and rock solid evidence from either side?

#13 gwb123

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 04:17 PM

It looks like this was an item of discussion in the UK.  The articles seem to be referring to WWII masks and WWI helmets.

 

http://asbestosvicti...iques-roadshow/

 

http://www.dailymail...n-ASBESTOS.html

 

And Wikipedia has notes on the unfortunate use of such masks in postwar factories that resulted in asbestos exposure.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_mask

 

I am not finding similar results for WWI masks.



#14 CharliesYearOldYogurt

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 06:04 AM

I got the email back from the Imperial War Museum!

 

 

 

Dear Charles,


Thank you for your enquiry.

With regards to gas masks, we warn that there is the possibility that any First World War era mask could contain traces of asbestos and that all models should be checked.

The company we always use for gas mask asbestos checks, East Coast Insulations, is UK based and I'm afraid we don't have any recommendations for US based companies. If you contact your local council then they should have asbestos removal contacts that they can recommend.

Regards,

Adam R
IWM



#15 5thwingmarty

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:51 AM

I'm curious how an asbestos abatement company would check them without destroying them.  It would be possible to do an air test where air was drawn through the gas mask filter to an asbestos air sampling cassette and then have the cassette analyzed using an electron microscope.  That would show if any asbestos was being released from the filter.

 

Something an abatement company could do would be to clean the gas mask, hose and filter and then seal the inlet and outlet sides of the filter to prevent any air from passing through it.  It would look fine for display still but you wouldn't have to worry about any possible asbestos from getting out of the filter.



#16 trenchbuff

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 08:26 AM

If you don't eat it you should be OK.



#17 CharliesYearOldYogurt

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:11 PM

Even though I'm probably fine, is there any way I can "sterilize" the asbestos or get rid of it?



#18 dan

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 07:02 AM

I don't know much about the filter contents except I always believed it was charcoal.

 

The issue I see here is that any mask I have in my collection is very brittle and I would be highly concerned with breaking parts of the mask while try to don it.



#19 BROBS

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 07:15 AM

Even though I'm probably fine, is there any way I can "sterilize" the asbestos or get rid of it?

Is there any reason you are so concerned about this?

 

You do realize that asbestos was everywhere for years and years and the only people negatively affected by it were those in the production industries.

Alone sitting there it will not hurt you.

 

Are you planning on wearing or using the mask?

If not stop worrying about it or sell it.

-Brian



#20 Kurt Barickman

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 01:45 PM

I took one apart as a kid and found charcoal in it. 

 

Kurt



#21 Mitter2k1

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 03:22 PM

Is there any reason you are so concerned about this?
 
You do realize that asbestos was everywhere for years and years and the only people negatively affected by it were those in the production industries.
Alone sitting there it will not hurt you.
 
Are you planning on wearing or using the mask?
If not stop worrying about it or sell it.
-Brian

I have to agree with Brian on this. I'm sure there are far worse things out there to worry about, not that asbestos and mesothelioma are anything to scoff at. I have a couple of WWI gas masks in my collection and I am not the least bit worried. Look at all the members that have those WWII glow in the dark helmet things. As long as the item is treated with care and not used as it was originally intended, you'll be just fine.

-Mike

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#22 Too Much WW1 Militaria

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 02:13 PM

Yep, asbestos traces in the mask packing. There is also asbestos in WW1 helmet pads. Neither will harm you unless you are eating it, rolling around in it, or some such thing. It isn't like the folks in the brake industry that were heavily exposed to it for years. We are talking trace elements here.

John


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