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Q: Gas masks and rotten food ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Gas masks and rotten food
Category: Science
Asked by: mcfly_boy-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 03 Oct 2005 18:08 PDT
Expires: 02 Nov 2005 17:08 PST
Question ID: 576011
My friend is preparing to go back to New Orleans, I have one of those
full face gas masks with Nuclear/Bio/Chem filters that I was going to
give to him.  Will it work to filter out the smells from cleaning out
several walk-in refrigerators?  Or is it a waste of expensive
equipment and would a particulate mask work just as well?  Will either
filter mold?
Subject: Re: Gas masks and rotten food
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 03 Oct 2005 19:09 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear mcfly_boy-ga;

Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting
question. I have a great deal of first-hand experience with ?gas
masks? like the one you mention in both military and civilian law
enforcement settings. As a general rule, a gas mask will not prevent
the wearer from smelling most odors particularly if they are
exceptionally bad odors. Depending on the type of filters used, some
of the newer ones can, to some extent, filter out noxious odors as
well as potentially harmful or irritating vapors/residue such as mold
spores, bacteria and other potentially dangerous organisms.

In my opinion a gas mask would be a waste of time IF you merely wanted
to protect yourself from odors and IF the existing filters are not
designed to tackle that tough job. Further, in my opinion, particulate
mask would be the better choice ? here?s why:

Years ago in the police academy and I was taught a trick that I have
never forgotten and have often said that it was one of the cleverest
and most useful tricks I ever learned. If you?ve ever wondered how
police, medical examiners and funeral home workers can walk around in
a crime scene where there are dead and decaying bodies without tossing
their cookies over the smell, the secret is Vicks Vapor Rub (sometimes
called Vap-o-rub). In fact, I bet you can find an industrial-sized jar
of it in just about every sizeable coroner?s office and autopsy lab in
the country.

This ointment provides a powerful menthol and camphor combination in a
petroleum-type ointment that really stays in place. Simply rub some of
this on just about any surgical mask or gas mask filter and it will
overpower almost any stench. Some people even smear globs of the stuff
across their top lip under their nose so the vapors rise directly into
the nose. You should never do anything with a product that is contrary
to what the container suggests, and Vicks does not recommend placing
the vapor rub product directly in your nose, but many people I know do
it when faced with these situations. I?m not telling you that stuffing
Vicks in your nose is ok ? what I?m saying is that it simply works as
a means of masking overwhelming odors.

Vicks was even one of the many things that rescuers took with them or
in some cases asked for, when they arrived in New Orleans as did some
who were involved in the tsunami rescue efforts, 9/11 and other
similar disasters:

?The items include three cases of bottled water, first aid kits,
insect spray, batteries, hand sanitizers, Vicks Vapor Rub to block the
stench of the toxic water??

?They could smell bodies decomposing several houses away. Vandermark
resorted to putting Vicks Vapor Rub under her nose to avoid the city's

??the crew has been told to take facemasks and Vicks salve to put in
their noses to cover the smell of the stench.?

Another option is an olfactory perception-altering compound called
ODORSCREEN. This product is applied in a similar fashion (smeared
generously across the upper lip at the nostrils) but it doesn?t mask
odors like Vicks does. Instead it temporarily alters the smell
receptors in the nose, so the user perceives only the scent of, say,
vanilla perhaps.



The company that makes the stuff, Patus, Ltd., donated a bunch of it
to workers at Ground Zero in New York while they conducted their
duties after 9/11. Without it they would have certainly suffered. It
reportedly works very well.

GOOGLE: Odorscreen 9/11

I hope you find that my research exceeds your expectations. If you
have any questions about my research please post a clarification
request prior to rating the answer. Otherwise, I welcome your rating
and your final comments and I look forward to working with you again
in the near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad ? Google Answers Researcher


Defined above



Google ://






mcfly_boy-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
Extensive answer and great hyperlinks.

Subject: Re: Gas masks and rotten food
From: tsilverman-ga on 03 Oct 2005 20:42 PDT
You're looking for something that filters out "organic vapors" or
"OV." I have a North brand respirator that does this, and I have yet
to find an odor it doesn't block.

I don't know about filtering out mold.

A full-face gas mask is certainly overkill.

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