Gas mask

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A gas mask

A gas mask is a type of facial protection equipment whose purpose is to protect its user from hazardous airborne particles or volatile chemicals.

While some gas masks are also respirators, the main difference between gas masks and respirators is that the latter only filters the air and does not cover the whole face or the eyes, while the gas mask offers full facial protection.


Gas masks consist of a chemically resistant rubber mask, fitted with two glass/plastic openings for the eyes and a connector where one or two gas mask filters can be attached. When worn, the gas mask is held to the head using adjustable belts. Some gas masks lack air filters and instead have an air tube, which is connected to an air tank, similar to scuba diving equipment.

Air filter types

To be added


Gas masks can be purchased from various hardware stores, along with air filters. They can also be purchased online.

Military stores will also sell gas masks.

In many countries of the former Soviet block, military gas masks were given to the population in the event of war. Such items can be found online, though if they were improperly stored, they are mostly useless.

Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), widely used by rescue workers or firefigthers can also be used as gas mask. They can be bought online

Handling and safety

Gas masks don't handle UV light well and if exposed for years in contact with both light and air, the rubber mask will begin to degrade, which limits protection. Gas masks only offer facial protection, for corrosive volatile chemicals, full body protection is required.

Gas mask filters will eventually clog up and need to be changed.

Always check the type of air filter you use, as not all types are compatible to all hazardous reagents.

See also


Relevant Sciencemadness threads