We recently helped a client who had purchased a World War 2 gas mask, who was concerned that it may contain asbestos.
Warnings by the HSE have been issued in the past warning schools and the public that gas masks and helmets and the related equipment should not be handled or worn, as they may contain harmful asbestos and other harmful toxins. Over time the masks condition deteriorates allowing the fibres to become loose and free.
Advice from The Health and Safety Executive to schools and public is to destroy or make safe (by a licensed contractor) the artefacts following tests to look for asbestos fibres.
For more information please visit the HSE website or contact ourselves if you have any concerns.