US Military NBC Gear Facts
DISCLAIMER: All information on this page is presented for entertainment use only.
No person, entity, or organization is liable for the use or misuse of this information.
19 OCT 2009
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Also... I now have the manuals to answer almost any question about any piece of NBC gear from any nation made since WWII. Just email me your questions for a prompt reply. I have extensive literature about all US-issue suits and masks, plus information about British, Soviet, and other nations' gear. Just ask!!!
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NEW MARCH 2005-
NBC GEAR AND THE LAW
MOST IMPORTANT THING ON THIS ENTIRE SITE!!!
CLICK HERE FOR GAS MASK INFORMATION
CLICK HERE FOR MASK FILTER INFORMATION
Any suit made before 1990 is useless as NBC protection. Period. This includes any OD green (olive drab green) US or British issue suits. This is Army doctrine and also good advice! BDO suits made from 1990-1996 have been granted a 16-year shelf-life extension IF stored in a cool-dry climate out of direct sunlight. EXCEPTIONS are listed in the defective equipment page. The following NSN series has been granted a 14-year from date-of-manufacture shelf life: 8415-01-137-17XX.
Click here to see a photo of what the last series of BDOs look like in packaging.
Click here to see a photo of Saratoga suit packaging. As of May, 2003, the shelf life of Saratoga suits is semi-officially 14 years, but (prototype) control samples that are 15 years old have been found to still be serviceable.
The newest-generation, all-service JSLIST suits carry a ten-year shelf life. Only time will tell how accurate that is. Note that as long as the bag is 100% sealed, without even so much as a pinhole, the suit inside is presumed to be serviceable-- even if the bag no longer has that "vacuum packed" appearance and is bulging. Those of us who were in the military in the days of the M17 masks will remember having to discard filters with bags that were bulging.
Click here to see a photo of SCALP suit components in their packaging. SCALP suits (Suit, Contamination And Liquid Protective) were issued in the 1990s (I am not sure of their current status) as lightweight, impremeable protective garments to add protection against liquid agents. They could be worn either over a utility uniform or MOPP gear. They were favored by armored vehicle crews because they take up far less space than a conventional suit and can be donned and doffed quickly ("ripped off" if needed).
PROTECTIVE GLOVES, BOOTS, HELMET COVERS:
Fifteen year shelf life from date of manufacture.
M13: Obsolete, potential use for decontaminating personal equipment but users advised to wear protective gloves. Contents may be caustic.
M258: Obsolete and worthless. Contents may be caustic.
M58 training kits: These have black plastic cases and have appeared on eBay being sold as actual decontamination kits. These are inert training kits for the M258A1 system. Useless against any agents but should not be toxic. I have found them handy for removing camo face paint after a drill.
M258A1: Must be stored between 29 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Packet 2 has tendency to "boil" at low temps; if it appears bulged and the glass ampule feels broken inside discard it. As of 3/19/03, these are considered outdated, obsolete discard items. Contents may be caustic.
Click here to see a photo of M291 and M295 kits as issued new in the packaging. Semi-official word on shelf life places it at 5 to 7 years from manufacture, however in my unit at least, ours (which were manufactured 1992 to 1994) have not been replaced. Theoretically with activated carbon being the main "active ingredient," the shelf life should be similar to that of sealed mask filters. Packets I have seen that were made in 1991 are becoming brittle and tear easily. Date of manufacture is imprinted/crimped onto the upper edge seam on each packet. Look closely since it is an imprint, not printed in ink.
M9 DETECTOR PAPER: Once out of white wrap, service life is about six months. If left sealed, shelf life is about three years beyond manufacturer's expiration date. * As of 3/17/03, this information on a three-year-beyond-discard date shelf life has been verified to still be doctrine*
ATROPINE INJECTORS: Generally the FDA-approved service life of atropine stored in a cool-dry climate can extend up to six years beyond the printed date on the unit. Iraqi soldiers in 1991 were reportedly killed by using Soviet atropine with expiration dates from 1949 to 1953!!! One contract that I know of for the atropine autoinjectors is carried by: SURVIVAL TECHNOLOGY INC (STI), 2275 Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20850. Phone 301-926-1800.
PYRIDOSTIGMINE TABLETS: These are for preventive use before exposure to a nerve agent only. If refrigerated between 35 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, their shelf life is five years from date of manufacture. If taken from refrigeration they can last only six months in "average" climate (warm-dry).
DS2: Shelf life of three years. Can be very corrosive so be careful handling containers of unknown age.
Internal Links to government information
My M40 series mask ID Checklist
I have noticed that when I access this site without using my editor, there is a sort of banner ad that appears along the bottom advertising NBC gear for sale from various companies (like RushTrade.com).
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In fact, do us all a favor- boycott any site that attempts to use my page as a link to their sale items!!!