How many of you have gotten gas masks? And how would you know when to use them in absence of an audible explosion or odor, etc.? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

To all:

I know nothing about gas masks, but I know some are buying them.

What is your opinion of the importance of obtaining gas masks? If there is no obvious explosion, how would you know when to start using them and when to take them off? My guess is that with some chemicals that have noticeable odors, for example, that as soon as you notice them, it's too late. With others, there's nothing to notice, until you feel the effects. It seems almost futile, and that money could be better spent elsewhere.

(Of course this post assumes communications are down, and an 8-10 scenario.)

In any case, if for some reason I decide to buy some, where should I go? What types?

My apologies if this should be on the prep forum.

Thank you.

-- eve (, November 15, 1999


This site offers gas masks at prices that at first seem high, but they explain that these are not army surplus cast-offs.

You can read up and make up your own mind. They warn about purchasing the cheap Israli masks from army surplus as being outdated and ineffective. I do not know if there is truth to this or not.

As far as knowing when to put them on, I contacted their customer support via email asking the very same question. They said that you really need to listen for announcements via radio from civil defense as when to use them. The methods for determining levels of toxic agents are VERY expensive and therefore not for the general public. They said signs would be if animals and birds drop first, people outside gagging and vomiting, etc.

I picked up a book at called "First Responder Chem-bio Handbook for $20. It is a quick-reference to symptoms, practical responses and decontamination proceedures.

Hope this helps.

Heres the URL:

PS-- Got KI?

-- Dale (, November 15, 1999.

Here is the prep forum thread

Israeli gas mask filters

-- spider (, November 15, 1999.

Sorry to post this twice.
Prep forum thread

Israeli gas mask filters

-- spider (, November 15, 1999.


Thanks for your infomative response. But, not to start a sub-topic within a topic, when you said "Got KI": The principle here is similar -- when do you start and stop taking potassium iodide without an instrument to measure the radioactivity, dose-rate, etc? You're in the same dilemma -- operating completely in the dark.

So, I believe that potassium iodide as well would not be useful (again assuming no advance sensory evidence of an explosion or meltdown) without a dosimeter, dose-rate meter, etc., given downed communications and an 8-10 scenario.

Agree, Dale?

-- eve (, November 15, 1999.

forget it.If you need a gas mask you should probably be at mopp4 and that requires a huge dicipline.Why not concentrate on the differances you can make.trying to dig a fallout shelter is probably a waste of energy as well.

-- zoobie (, November 15, 1999.


I disagree. I still believe the small investment in KI is a good one. Even though our gov't may not tell us right away if there was a radioactive leak, you might hear of it through short-wave or radio broadcasts. Even if you heard about it late, at least you wouldn't have to wait for FEMA to come to your neighborhood with KI, assuming they even have stockpiles and it would still save valuable time.

Old civil defense radiation meters can be bought on E-bay. Whether they would be useful, I have no idea. Maybe someone else has an opinion on this.

I have added KI to my readiness kit. I have decided to do as much as I can, even though some things are out of our control. At least I have it if I need it and it's relatively cheap.

-- Dale (, November 15, 1999.

Enough is enough already

-- (, November 15, 1999.

I bought Israeli gas masks and extra filters. This is not because they will help in something major (need real heavyweight stuff for that) but my mother has about 50% breathing restrictions and she would feel anything in the air immediately. We live close to Equilon & Texaco refineries as well as the Olympic Pipeline (about 2 acres away). Should the refineries have another explosion with smoke filled air, I wanted these available.

By the way, last thursday on the local ABC affiliate here in PNW they announced that Olympic Pipeline is shutting down for 8 hours pre and post rollover (hooray!).

Anyway, this was just my reasoning.

-- Sammie (, November 15, 1999.

Hey y'all,

FYI, a gas mask will only help if you have the proper filter cartridge for the gas present. For example, an ammonia gas filter doesn't work for hydrocarbons and vice-versa.

Additionally, those that are worried about refineries close by, You may have hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell), H2S, present as well, which is one of those chemicals that deadens the sense of smell in higher concentrations. Therefore, as long as you can smell it, it's probably not of a high enough concentration to hurt you. But when you stop smelling it, is it because it's gone or because you can't smell anymore? (P.S. H2S requires even another filter cartridge, but note that most refineries don't let their employees wear them because when breakthrough occurs, the employee may have a deadened sense of smell and not change the filter... the company requires a fresh air supply when working with H2S.)

Have a nice day!

-- Larry. (, November 15, 1999.


Thanks. You've raised some very good points. There's a lot more to it than buying a gas mask and then throwing it in the closet.

I've had similar concerns, for instance, even if you have a gas mask, how do you protect/seal off your house? How are you going to decontaminate yourself? What types of chemical/biological agents will your gas mask protect against? What other types of protective gear will you need? etc.

I've been thinking about this stuff but haven't really done anything yet. If anybody has more info about good books or links on the subject, could you please post it? Thanks.

-- Clyde (, November 15, 1999.

Gas masks are readily available at any general worker safety supplier. This becomes complicated because they make many different types of filters for many differnet hazards. A particulate filter will not help against chemical's. The HEPA (High efficiency particulate air) is a basic dust and dirt filter. The HEPA AG or HEPA acid gas protects against some chemicals and also costs more. They should have a catalog with a chart of filter elements and what they protect against. If there is a chemical contamination many chemicals give off foul smelling fumes that are easy to smell, others don't. You might have to rely on local emergency or national emergency alerts. How effective these are against bio hazards I don't know. Some gas problems displace oxygen and note generic gas masks do not produce oxygen. If you are in lets say an ammonia cloud downwind of a frozen food plant if concentrations are high enough a mask might make no differnce. The masks made of rubber are less confortable (my opinion) than silicone which is softer but again more expensive. If you are on a bugdet and not near a chemical plant consider the risksvs cost that could be used for other preps.

-- squid (, November 15, 1999.

spider: I haven't checked it out yet, but thanks for the link.

zoobie: Your post makes sense. Thanks.

Dale: Good point on KI. Although my posts assumed all communications were down, it won't necessarily be this way.

Sammie: Interesting input. Good luck with your mom.

gagging: Sorry. I assumed we all had our antiemetics at the ready before we even clicked into the forum.

-- eve (, November 15, 1999.

Clarification to my prior post:

zoobie: Your post does makes some sense if all communications are down, but see Dale's take below yours. He makes a good point. Thanks.

-- eve (, November 15, 1999.

Larry, Clyde, squid: Thanks! Informative and interesting responses.

-- eve (, November 15, 1999.

Sorry eve, wrong link. This is the one I meant.

info needed on purchase of Gas Masks

-- spider (, November 15, 1999.

To "":

Are you ok? Now I'm starting to get worried...

-- eve (, November 15, 1999.

Tried to post earlier eve. "Something" apparently went wrong. Although the others who posted before made some great points, you should be aware of

A)Beware of 'substandard warsaw pact/isreali army suplus' dreck masks. Remember, quality costs major ducats.

B)Industrial masks, although great for some chemicals, will leave you dead with a bio/chem warfare hazzard. .Mil gear and filters are your safest bet.

C)Not everyone can afford the ends to outfit a family of four w/chem masks and M.O.P.P. 4 (mission oriented protective posture, the .mil term for NBC gear) Detectors are often expensive, hard to calibrate, and difficult to maintain. For reference check the local civil defence kids, or your local library.

-- Billy Boy (, November 15, 1999.

Hi Eve,

I hope I'm not breeching protocol here. It is going to take me some time to learn forum manners/rules and I hope everyone will be patient with me. However, I have already completed most of my research and want to share it.

KI AKA Potasium Iodide

An extremely small and inexpensive daily dose of the preferred non-radioactive potassium salt, potassium iodide (KI), if taken 1/2 hour to 1 day before exposure to radioactive iodine, will reduce later absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid to only about 1% of what the absorption would be without this preventive measure

* Without prescription.

In 1990 the leading company selling 130-mg potassium iodide tablets without prescription and by mail order in the United States is ANBEX, Inc., P.O. Box 861, Cooper Station, New York, N.Y. 10276. Two bottles, each containing fourteen 130-mg potassium iodide tablets, cost $10.00. Thus the cost per 24-hour dose is 36 cents. To the best of my knowledge, the company in the U.S. that in July of 1990 is selling 130-mg KI tablets without prescription at the lowest price is Preparedness Products, 3855 South 500 West, Bldg. G, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115. This company sells 14 tablets, in a brown, screw-cap glass bottle, for $3.50, postpaid, including shipping charges. For three or more bottles, the price is $2.50 per bottle

(Potassium Iodide Tablets, U.S.P.) (Pronounced poe-TASS-e-um EYE-oh-dyed) (Abbreviated KI)




DIRECTIONS FOR USE Use only as directed by State or local public health authorities in the event of a radiation emergency.


ADULTS AND CHILDREN ONE YEAR OF AGE OR OLDER: One (1) tablet once a day. Crush for small children. BABIES UNDER ONE YEAR OF AGE: One-half (1/2) tablet once a day. Crush first.

DOSAGE: Take for 10 days unless directed otherwise by State or local public health authorities. Store at controlled room temperature between 150 and 300C (59 degrees to 86 degrees F). Keep bottle tightly closed and protect from light.


POTASSIUM IODIDE SHOULD NOT BE USED BY PEOPLE ALLERGIC TO IODIDE. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of overdose or allergic reaction, contact a physician or public health authority.


Each iOSAT Tablet contains 130 mg. of potassium iodide.


Certain forms of iodine help your thyroid gland work right. Most people get the iodine they need from foods like iodized salt or fish. The thyroid can "store" or hold only a certain amount of iodine. In a radiation emergency, radioactive iodine may be released in the air. This material may be breathed or swallowed. It may enter the thyroid gland and damage it. The damage would probably not show itself for years. Children are most likely to have thyroid damage. If you take potassium iodide, it will fill up your thyroid gland. This reduces the chance that harmful radioactive iodine will enter the thyroid gland.


The only people who should not take potassium iodide are people who know they are allergic to iodide. You may take potassium iodide even if you are taking medicines for a thyroid problem (for example, a thyroid hormone or anti-thyroid drug). Pregnant and nursing women and babies and children may also take this drug.


Potassium iodide should be taken as soon as possible after public health officials tell you. You should take one dose every 24 hours. More will not help you because the thyroid can "hold" only limited amounts of iodine. Larger doses will increase the risk of side effects. You will probably be told not to take the drug for more than 10 days.


Usually, side effects of potassium iodide happen when people take higher doses for a long time. You should be careful not to take more than the recommended dose or take it for longer than you are told. Side effects are unlikely because of the low dose and the short time you will be taking the drug.

Possible side effects include skin rashes, swelling of the salivary glands, and "iodism" (metallic taste, burning mouth and throat, sore teeth and gums, symptoms of a head cold, and sometimes stomach upset and diarrhea).

A few people have an allergic reaction with more serious symptoms. These could be fever and joint pains, or swelling of parts of the face and body and at times severe shortness of breath requiring immediate medical attention.

Taking iodide may rarely cause overactivity of the thyroid gland, underactivity of the thyroid gland, or enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter).


If the side effects are severe or if you have an allergic reaction, stop taking potassium iodide. Then, if possible, call a doctor or public health authority for instructions.


Tablets (Potassium Iodide Tablets, U.S.P.): bottles of [number of tablets in a bottle] tablets ( ). Each white, round, scored tablet contains 130 mg. potassium iodide.

KI under the tablet's coating is a more painful-tasting drug than any that most people ever have taken.

-- Laura (, November 15, 1999.

About the KI: the reason for taking it is to load up your thyroid with iodine to prevent it from taking up radioactive iodine 130 or something like that. It stands to reason that if one _keeps_ one's thyroid loaded with iodine then there won't be a problem.

In a newletter published by a medical doctor I read that many serious symptoms result from an underactive thyroid and that one way to combat this is to ingest enough iodine to supply the thyroid's needs. In another doctor's writings I was told about an easy way to tell if one has an iodine deficiency: paint an area on the abdomen about the size of a silver dollar with iodine; if the iodine is gone in less than 24 hours there is a deficiency. Repeating this test will correct the problem since the iodine dissapears by being absorbed into the system.

It is my belief, based upon experimentation upon myself, that one can endure very high doses of iodine for relatively protracted periods with no ill effects. I say this to observe that if one discovers himself to be iodine deficient, it might be good to paint a larger area than a dollar-sized one with iodine to hasten the return to balance. This is an observation, NOT advice.


-- George Valentine (, November 15, 1999.


Thanks for your latest link. Intriguing little tiff going on there, too.

-- eve (, November 15, 1999.

Billy Boy:

Thanks for the info and precautions. It's starting to sound like quality gas masks, filters, etc. would be out of the question for me, budget-wise, in any case.


Wow! Thanks so much for sharing all that detailed information! Maybe I'll get a few weeks' worth of KI, and hope communications are still up. You know, somehow I recall a flavored KI tablet somewhere, but I lost the connection.


That's a fascinating KI deficiency test you've got there. Thanks.

-- eve (, November 15, 1999.

For those who think they may need to take KI: you had better think about the side effects as to your "Thyroid Gland". Better read up on this one.

The gas masks may serve their "best use" in picking up the "Body Bags."

-- eyes wide open (, November 16, 1999.

I have been in contact with someone associated with and we are working on a cooperative preps deal on KI and new military gas masks. Email me if you have initial interest. I expect to put up an cooperative preps announcement up as soon as we work out all the details.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, November 16, 1999.

Check out this place too They buy direct rorm MSA and in fact bought all the M-17 mask parts MSA still had in inventory.

Gas Masks Inc. strikes me as incredibly expensive for anything worth a damn....I was amazed at what they tough some things are worth. I bought my used masks (MCU-2/Ps) from a Surplus Dealer, VFA34@AOL.COM , for a very nice price. See them on ebay a lot as well (search under "gas mask").

BTW, I heard this morning that the importation of gas masks and parts is banned immediatly. Think prices will go up and availability is going to get chancy quickly.

To answer another question: what type masks? My feeling is that the only decent ones to buy are the Military M-40 and MCU-2/P masks using the 40mm filters.

-- Don Kulha (, November 16, 1999.


Thanks for the offer; I'll let you know.


I really appreciate the info. Thanks for taking the time.


Kind of a grotesque angle, but I guess it's something that should be considered. Thanks.

-- eve (, November 16, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ