THE USE OF ACTIVATED CHARCOAL IN GAS MASKS
Activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal, plays a vital role in respiratory protection. Originally designed for military use, respirator mask have become an increasingly essential element of personal protective equipment for the military and first responders alike. For example, depending on their type and construction, gas masks can be effective against a wide range of substances, from everyday dust to poisonous gases. Respirators have a two-stage inhalation protection process when it comes to inhaling contaminants from the air. First there is the particle filter which is ultimately a physical barrier that removes bacteria from inhaled air. When the bacteria is inhaled, it gets entangled in the filter fibers preventing it from being inhaled in the lungs. Then you have the activated charcoal layer that contains a highly porous charcoal that attracts and binds to toxins. Through adsorption, a solid or a liquid can trap particles on its surface. Toxins that pass through the charcoal become bonded to its surface, preventing inhalation of the toxin. Physical adsorption is the primary means by which activated carbon works. The ability for activated carbon to remove contaminants is not based on the amount of carbon used, but rather the capacity of carbon to adsorb the contaminant. Natural carbon is not able to treat every contaminant, however there are different carbon products which remove specific contaminants.