Gas mask  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A gas mask is a mask put on over the face to protect the wearer from inhaling "airborne pollutants" and toxic gases. The mask forms a sealed cover over the nose and mouth, but may also cover the eyes and other vulnerable soft tissues of the face. Some gas masks are also respirators, though the word gas mask is often used to refer to military equipment (e.g. Field Protective Mask, etc.) (The user of the gas mask is not protected from gas that the skin can absorb.)

Airborne toxic materials may be gaseous (for example the chlorine gas used in World War I) or particulate (such as many biological agents developed for weapons such as bacteria, viruses and toxins). Many gas masks include protection from both types. During riots where tear gas or CS-gas is employed by riot police, gas masks are commonly used by police and rioters alike.

Aside from serving their functional purposes, gas masks are also used as emblems in industrial music, by graffiti taggers because the mask protects them from the graffiti canister's toxic fumes, and by Urban Explorers venturing into environments where materials such as asbestos is present.

The traditional gas mask style with two small circular eye windows originated when the only suitable material for these eye windows was glass or perspex; as glass is notoriously brittle, glass eye windows had to be kept small and thick. Later, discovery of polycarbonate allowed gas masks with a big full-face window. Some have one or two filters attached to the face piece. Some have a large filter connected to the face piece by a hose.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Gas mask" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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