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Some Interesting Moments in Gas Mask History.

Gas mask purchases are a personal decision each family must make. Educate yourself about gas masks to avoid a mistake that could cost you your life. Consider the following information before purchasing and purchase only from a recognized dealer or manufacturer. A gas mask would only protect you if you were wearing it at the exact moment a bioterrorist attack occurred. Unfortunately, a release of a biological agent is most likely to be done “covertly,” that is, without anyone knowing it. That means you would not know ahead of time to put on your gas mask.
To wear a gas mask continuously or “just in case” a bioterrorist attack occurs, is impractical, if not impossible. To work effectively, masks must be specially fitted to the wearer, and wearers must be trained in their use.
This is usually done for the military and for workers in industries and laboratories who face routine exposure to chemicals and germs on the job. Gas masks purchased at an Army surplus store or off the internet carry no guarantees that they will work. In fact, one national chain of surplus stores provides the following statement: “(X) has been selling gas masks as a novelty item since 1948. We have never been able to warrant their effectiveness and we cannot do so at this time… more at source
ENGLAND is manufacturing 30,000,000 gas masks for civilians at the rate of 250,000 per week. By the end of the year they will be stored at convenient centers available for instant use. Italy has decreed that every new house constructed must have a concrete anti-gas shelter in the basement in accordance with government specifications. Masks are sold in Rome on the installment plan.
French drug stores sell masks. Russia has devised special models for children and conducts gas as well as fire drills in schools. Germany and every other European country have provided masks and fume-proof shelters for civilians operating electric power plants and other vital services. A Czech manufacturer is marketing a mask with a telephone and microphone attachment for the conduct of business as usual in spite of gas.

This all goes to show that Europeans, unprotected as America by wide oceans, from hostile nations, have a genuine personal fear of death from the clouds in a general conflict. Just how real the danger is a matter of argument.
Gas figured little, if any, in the first six months of the Spanish struggle and it is obvious that the element of surprise, which made the first World War attacks so terrible, is no longer present.
Chemists agree that the most deadly gases are also the most volatile—the most easily blown away. 
Tempting death daily is the lot of a few daring men in a London laboratory, where a steel-walled chamber containing an appreciable quantity of real poison gas is reported in use to test the air-purifying canisters of military gas masks. Masked experimenters sit outside the deadly chamber, and breathe through hoses that terminate in the canisters within. A white-coated physician stands near to render first aid, in case the poison-absorbing chemicals should fail to function. Only in this way can new types of equipment be tested.


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