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Thoughts on Health and Safety Issues

May 4 2011 at 12:00 PM
Paul Harrison 

Mike, if this is a bit off topic, please remove, as I'm not certain that this is the right place to raise this question.

I was looking at a sister web site recently and the issue of ASBESTOS has been raised in the older Respirators. An example was a military fair in the UK were a father had purchased on old mask for his son who wandered off with it on, only to later discover the issues w the cannister filling.

I know that as a kid, I occassionally wore one of my well degraded masks, I also took apart some of the old compasses, and likely have been in contact with the finer lead particulates that may be present in some ammunition natures.

I know that most of our collections are safe, but it does raise the question of how we should address anything that is a true health risk. I know that as I discover information that comes to light it generally results in trying to source a capability to "neutralize" things such as Asbestos, Lead or Radioactive paint. I recall discussions with some of the signals collectors, and they are well ahead of the general collectors regarding health issues.

Under controlled conditions most items can have the toxic substances removed but it also raises the challenge of how this effects historical and financial value.

In light of the extensive collections many of us have, I would be interested in the thoughts of the members of the forum regarding:
a. Where do we draw the line regarding responsibility. The younger generation is the future of the collecting hobby, so I believe we must put their health foremost.
b. I know that a couple of members on the forum suggest Tar and Feathering anyone who would would modify a pair of 1957 dated BD trousers with an added shell dressing pocket (as only original kit should be worn), something I don't always agree with. Knowingly "damaging kit" for the safe use does raise an interesting question. Where do we draw the line regarding maintaining history vice ensuring a heathy compliance for future use?

40 years ago when I started collecting, I was a bit younger and a little less knowledgable. Times have changed.

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Geoff Middleton

Old Compasses are pretty dangerous

May 4 2011, 8:12 PM 

My buddy, who was a radiation safety officer at Suffield, noted that my Mark3 compass has deteriorated quite badly and would probably be quite dangerous to open. The fluid is low and very milky, so it probably contains a slurry of the radioactive paint from the card luminous arrow. As long as it doesn't leak it should be OK. Definitely won't let the grandchildren use it for a teething toy. I would really like to get a reading on it to see how bad it is. Most of the MkIII compasses you do find have been emptied of fluid and had their radioactive paint removed too, and left dry. It leaves the card undamped and usually off balance too.

Beyond that, my wife thinks stinky army stuff is generally a hazard to her health, es[ecailly that lovely scent that the groundsheets and ponchos get, but so far I get to keep it all.

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Geoff Middleton

Compass Collecting

May 4 2011, 8:49 PM 

Collecting Military Compasseshttp://www.freewebs.com/tedbrink1/

Ted Brink has some good photos and info, including radiation readings on common military compasses like the Mk3.

He also has a site on military binoculars.

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May 5 2011, 10:56 AM 

**Off-topic political commentary deleted**

Webmaster's note - could not delete this message because it would have deleted the follow-on, on-topic discussion.

Just a reminder that topics of relevance to modern Canadian Forces policy and procedure, or political topics not directly related to this forum, can be done on other websites. Recommend http://www.milnet.ca for military topics and http://www.mapleleafweb.com/forums/ for political discussions.

This message has been edited by dorosh on May 5, 2011 6:19 PM

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Abner Picklewhite

Your choice

May 5 2011, 2:52 PM 


You have to establish your own comfort zone. It would be nice to be able to measure this stuff as mentioned but radmeters still haven't made it into collectors hands in any great numbers. I'm thinking the threat of luminous dials may be quite small but having said that, I sold an old RCAF hand portable compass (P106??) with filled glass vials on the card and I couldn't get it out of the house quickly enough. I tend to be overly cautious about that type of thing though.

If I had a dial that had been repainted with Super-LumiNova, I would not consider that a degradation of the article in the least bit. I'm in a watch and clock collectors club and doing that is simply a matter of course for many watch collectors. Mind you some of those guys have 1,000+ pocket watches or more and I suppose the rads would add up a bit.

Incidentally, we used to have a two pint can of the paint in the weapons section at Wainwright for painting aiming lines on the 2" mortar tubes. I have no idea if that stuff was nasty or not, but it just sat round like any can of paint. Hmm, maybe that's why I ended up with Lymphoma!

I think it's all a matter of comfort zones.

Good luck.


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