GP-5 gas mask

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The GP-5 gas mask with its filter.

The GP-5 gas mask (Russian: Гражда́нский Противога́з-5, tr. Grazhdanskii Protivogaz-5) is a Soviet-made single-filter gas mask. It was issued to the Soviet population starting in 1970; production ended in 1989. It is a lightweight mask, weighing 1.09 kg (2.42 lbs). It can operate in all weather and withstand temperatures from −40 degrees (Celsius and Fahrenheit) to 114 °C (237 °F). The GP-5 also comes with sealed glass eye pieces. They were originally made to protect the wearer from radioactive fallout during the Cold War and were distributed to most fallout shelters. They have been tested in Poland to see if they have NBC protective capabilities. It was concluded that the mask will last in an NBC situation for 24 hours. They are a favorite of gas mask collectors because they are common and have the "old" circular eyepieces like masks used in WWII and the "helmet" type masks.

This filter is known to contain asbestos.[1] It is recommended to swap this filter for a modern one.

There has been some debate as to whether or not the filters are dangerous for containing asbestos. In October 2013, an asbestos lab found out that the cotton layer of the filter contains 7.5 percent asbestos.[citation needed] Some claim that the filter is configured so that the asbestos can't be breathed in, so long as the filter layer isn't damaged.[citation needed]. Though it is also said that only the masks made in 1970's and below contain dnagerous asbestos and the ones made after do not but MAY contain activated charcoal, which is only harmful if the filter is damaged and is breathed by the user of the mask. Of course it is not lethal, because it is used as medical treatment for eg. poisoning, but still is administered in health care centers.

A variation of the GP-5 gas mask is the GP-6, which features a circular piece of metal that contains a thin piece of plastic on the inside, which acts as a voice diaphragm, as well as the dubious design for ear holes, which compromised the seal of the mask. Furthermore, the GP-5 mask is known to tightly cling to the skin of the head, making it only wearable by having relatively short hair.

The GP-5 was made famous for its apparent use in Chernobyl after the nuclear disaster, but in reality the IP-4 rebreather was commonly used during cleanup, although some GP-5 gas masks were used.[citation needed] This gas mask has spawned many copies; for instance, the TF-1 gas mask is similar to the GP-5, and the SchMS sniper mask has the same hood style design. There is also a Russian military version called the SchM41M, which often uses a coffee can-style filter with a hose. These masks are commonly mistaken for the SchM41M mask, the difference being the size of the intake and outtake valves.


  1. ^ Griffin, Kristen (24 October 2013). "Popular Military Surplus Gas Mask Used for Halloween Contains Deadly Asbestos". Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.