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Civilian Gas Mask Question

Article about: Hi there - I picked up a 1942 British Civilian Issue Gas Mask from SOF recently and before I try anything with it - I was wondering if it contained asbestos? I've had a look around this site

  1. #1

    Question Civilian Gas Mask Question

    Hi there - I picked up a 1942 British Civilian Issue Gas Mask from SOF recently and before I try anything with it - I was wondering if it contained asbestos? I've had a look around this site and various pages talk about filling the filter with PVA to make it safe, but does this not also make it impossible to breathe through it? Alternatively - is there somewhere to get a similar and safe filter for it ? Many thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Civilian Gas Mask Question

    You've certainly done the right thing by doing research and asking for advice

    Now to answer your questions..... Yes, the filter contains asbestos, so it is completely unsafe to breath through. The method of using a PVA and water mixture is meant to permenantly seal the filter and prevent any of its contents becoming airborne, which will also mean that it cannot be breathed through (but why would you even want to?) And finally, theres not any safe filters available that will fit the mask, even if there was you would need a special machine for fitting the filter canister and the rubber band that holds it in place. Without the machine its very tricky indeed.

    Thanks and if you have any further questions don't hesitate to ask, and welcome to the forum

    Danny

  3. #3

    Default Re: Civilian Gas Mask Question

    Good evening Guinness12,
    I brought two old gas masks a long time ago from an old war antiques dealer. From what he told me the vast majority of gas masks issued up until the later half of the 1950's contained blue asbestos in their filters, so being from the middle of WW2 its almost certain it would have asbestos in its filter (DON'T USE IT!). He told me there were places which specialised in the replacement of the filters within the masks, so you can have it changed and made usable, but I'd guess it would be expensive because of the nature of the job. Also, I'd have thought that removing original parts of the mask would devalue it slightly. Sorry I can't help more, but I'd suggest keeping it in an air tight plastic bag for the time being!
    All the best, Luke.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Civilian Gas Mask Question

    The 1942 Civilian masks filter unclips very easily with a clamped o-ring style thing - so getting it off and on has been pretty easy. I've filled it with a PVA/water mix. Its rather a shame that no one makes a replica filter to put on it for re-enactors!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Civilian Gas Mask Question

    Are you sure you're not thinking about the Civilian Duty/Special Services Respirator that uses a metal O-Ring clamp to hold the filter in place? All the General Civilian Respirators have the filter attached by means of a rubber band.

    Thanks

    Danny

  6. #6

    Default Re: Civilian Gas Mask Question

    Yeah that's what I meant, sorry. It's a simple tin can looking thing and I was wondering if anyone knew a similar modern filter that could be fitted? I only ask because re-enacting ARP requires the occasional use of a gas mask and I'm rather fond of breathing!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Civilian Gas Mask Question

    Many reenactors will open the canister and remove the contents. Could be tricky, as removing would cause the asbestos to become airborne. It is possible that the PVA didn't completely bond all the fibers. Perhaps, you could get a new asbestos filtering mask to wear while cleaning out this one. Might do this outside. Be sure to shower and wash clothes afterwards. ARP impression, very interesting, would like to see a photo. Hope these tips help.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Civilian Gas Mask Question

    I've since sat in a well ventilated area, with a modern breathing apparatus, goggles and gloves on and removed the entire contents of the filter. Washed, scrubbed and throughly cleaned. Ive then safely disposed of the contents, the cloth I was working on, and the gloves and mask.
    I now have a lovely, safe filter. As long as jerry doesn't drop any gas, I'll be fine!

    Cheers to all for your help and assistance!


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