Asbestos Warning

October 20th, 2014

We know that many community groups we have spoken have created displays, or are to are looking to do exhibitions and have asked for people to come forward with information, photos and objects, but there is something you may need to be aware of and it is not such an obvious source as bullets and hand grenades being brought to your Church Hall.

You may already be aware that First and Second World War gas mask can contain asbestos and should not be worn and handling should be kept to a minimum, if not, please take care. However, you may not be aware that the danger can exist with the First War tin helmet.

The following is from a piece by the Imperial War Museum and a description of the lining of a helmet by the IWM.

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) advise that the majority of World War One Brodie helmets contain white ‘chrysotile’ asbestos in the lining. The museum also previously informed the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) “that all gas masks of any vintage as well as all Brodie helmets should be assumed to contain asbestos, and potentially other toxic or hazardous materials”.

Bowl-shaped steel helmet, green painted, featuring a wide brim of simple pressed construction fitted with edging to the rim. The liner is of MK I pattern, comprising two part construction of an oval crown pad of lint, asbestos, and felt, and an American cloth tongueless headband padded with cotton wool, lint and canvas…..

If you have such a helmet, it must be handled with care and as little as possible. It can be displayed in a sealed case so that it is not accessible to the public. If in doubt, advice can be sought from the HSE.