The protection of a gas mask comes with some disadvantages. The wearer of a typical gas mask must exert extra effort to breathe, and some of the exhaled air is re-inhaled due to the dead space between the facepiece and the user’s face. The exposure to carbon dioxide may exceed its OELs (0.5% by volume/9 grammes per cubic metre for an eight-hour shift; 1.4%/27 grammes per m3 for 15 minutes’ exposure) by a factor of many times: for gas masks and elastomeric respirators, up to 2.6%); and in case of long-term use, headache, dermatitis and acne may appear. The UK HSE textbook recommends limiting the use of respirators without air supply (that is, not PAPR) to one hour.
This principle relies on substances harmful to humans being usually more reactive than air. This method of separation will use some form of generally reactive substance (for example an acid) coating or supported by some solid material. An example is synthetic resins. These can be created with different groups of atoms (usually called functional groups) that have different properties. Thus a resin can be tailored to a particular toxic group. When the reactive substance comes in contact with the resin, it will bond to it, removing it from the air stream. It may also exchange with a less harmful substance at this site.
Though it was crude, the hypo helmet was a stopgap measure for British troops in the trenches that offered at least some protection during a gas attack. As the months passed and poison gas was used more often, more sophisticated gas masks were developed and introduced. There are two main difficulties with gas mask design:
The user may be exposed to many types of toxic material. Military personnel are especially prone to being exposed to a diverse range of toxic gases. However, if the mask is for a particular use (such as the protection from a specific toxic material in a factory), then the design can be much simpler and the cost lower.
The protection will wear off over time. Filters will clog up, substrates for absorption will fill up, and reactive filters will run out of reactive substances. Thus the user only has protection for a limited time, and then they must either replace the filter device in the mask, or use a new gas masks for sale