Opinion Former Article

Asbestos warning over war artefacts

With the approaching centenary of the end of World War One, it is important that schools are aware of the asbestos risks around artefacts from the period.

Gas masks have been found to contain asbestos, including blue asbestos, the most dangerous type. Unless a mask is documented and certified as free of asbestos, it should be considered as suspect, and not handled and definitely not worn under any circumstances. The asbestos should be removed by an approved contractor. Canvas bags cannot be cleaned to remove asbestos and should be disposed of as hazardous waste by competent persons.

Similarly WW1 helmets have been found to contain asbestos pads. Again, unless documented and certified free of asbestos, all WW1 helmets should be considered to contain asbestos and either disposed of as hazardous waste, or have asbestos removed by specialist licensed contractors.

Modern asbestos-free replicas are available for both gas masks and helmets.

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