It was a story that appeared in The Lancashire Telegraph in August 2013, that suggested that gas masks posed a serious health danger. Thousands lined up patiently to be measured for gas-masks, only to find out that because of the haste with which the masks were manufactured the parts which were supposed to intercept gas had been inadvertendy left out. (5), Joyce Storey lived in Bristol: "Elsie remarked that she had spoken to Mr. Fry, the local Councillor and her next-door neighbour, and he had told her in confidence that the first consignment of gas masks due to be delivered the following week would be far from adequate and it was a question of distribution. The moment you put it on, the window misted up, blinding you. Shelters were erected in back gardens. In order that this examination may be as complete as possible, I shall be glad to receive from the Minister of Aircraft Production and the Minister of Supply, for circulation in advance of the meeting, brief comprehensive statements of the position so far as each is concerned, showing in respect of each of the main gas weapons and components (including gases): (1) Total requirements notified to them, with dates. Government advertisements appeared in newspapers pleading with people to carry their gas masks with them at all times. The Identity Cards had to be carried in wallets and handbags at all times. It didn't seem possible that enough air was coming through the filter. a "measuring" method: Following the measurements Elsie was right about the gas masks, and several weeks later there was a mad panic for these frightful looking things at local school rooms, where they were being distributed. I shall be glad if these statements can be submitted within a week. The covering over my face, the cloudy Perspex in front of my eyes, and the overpowering smell of rubber, made me feel slightly panicky, though I still laughed each time I breathed out, and the edges of the mask blew a gentle raspberry against my cheeks. (2), The gas masks were produced by a company in Blackburn and after the war factory workers making the masks started showing abnormally high numbers of deaths from cancer. If poison gas has been used you will be warned by means of hand rattles. This rate was three times the normal incidence of lung or respiratory cancers." (3) The production of phosgene gas is inadequate. of Respirator" instruction sheet is shown below - you may print Elsie was right about the gas masks, and several weeks later there was a mad panic for these frightful looking things at local school rooms, where they were being distributed. (6), People were encouraged to wear gas-masks for 15 minutes a day to get used to the experience. *Some of my lesson plans include resources provided by other people. I felt as if I couldn't. (3), Adult gas masks were black whereas children had 'Micky Mouse' masks with red rubber pieces and bright eye piece rims. If you hear the rattle when you are out, put on your gas mask at once and get indoors as soon as you can. It causes asbestosis, pleuritis, and lung cancer, as well as a number of other lethal and incurable diseases." It made it harder to see than ever, and you got soap in your eyes.

According to the BBC schools were now being warned about the use of gas masks in the classroom: "The analysis showed that the majority of the masks did contain asbestos, often the more dangerous crocidolite, or blue asbestos.... Schools with these items in their collections are advised to remove them from use, double-bag them and send them for licensed disposal or to be made safe by a licensed contractor or arrange to have them displayed in a sealed cabinet." People carried their gas masks in cardboard cases for many months. Knowing how to maintain your gas mask led the government into producing an information leaflet that explained how this could be done … (4) Neville Chamberlain went on to radio to explain the measures the government was taking: "How horrible, fantastic, incredible, it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing." Tests showed that asbestos fibres can also be inhaled by wearing the masks. Teachers were instructed to send children back home to fetch their masks if they had forgotten them. Ours took up all the small dirt square, with the opening coming right up to the edge of the path. Philip Ziegler, the author of London at War (1995), pointed out that the authorities in London carried out a regular survey of those carrying gas-masks on Westminster Bridge in 1939: "On 6 September on Westminster Bridge 71 per cent of the men and 76 per cent of the women carried masks; by 30 October the figures were 58 and 59; by 9 November a mere 24 and 39." Whoever got there first would be lucky.


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