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Gas masks with asbestos breathing devices

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The permanent ban on gas masks with asbestos breathing devices came into effect on 15 September 1993. This page includes information on hazards and how to comply with the ban.

A gas mask is a piece of breathing equipment that usually consists of a full-face shield, a hose and a detachable metal canister containing an asbestos filter.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in the surface of the earth. Asbestos fibres are 50 to 200 times thinner than a human hair and can:

  • float in the air for a long time
  • be invisible to the naked eye
  • be inhaled into the lungs.

Gas masks with asbestos breathing devices are dangerous to the user’s health. If the mask is used as a breathing apparatus, the user is exposed to asbestos fibres through the filter. This can lead to their developing mesothelioma, a form of cancer almost always caused by asbestos. This ban applies to gas masks for use and collectable gas masks.

On this page:


Inhalation of asbestos fibres could cause the fatal lung disease mesothelioma, a terminal cancer almost always caused by breathing in asbestos fibres.


Consumer Protection Notice No. 17 of 1993 prescribes requirements of this ban. This ban came into effect on 2 September 1993.

Does this ban apply to my business?

Under the ACL supply includes:

  • in relation to goods - (including re-supply) by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase and
  • in relation to services - provide, grant of confer. 

This ban applies to anyone in the business of supplying gas masks, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers
  • hirers.

Complying with the ban

For complete information about the ban on gas masks with asbestos breathing devices, we strongly advise you to read Consumer Protection Notice No. 17 of 1993. It is illegal for businesses to sell gas masks containing asbestos, even if they advertise them as collectable items.

Penalties and consequences

Suppliers can face heavy fines and recalls of non-compliant products if they trade in these banned products. For more details, view Penalties and consequences. 

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