In Need of Protection

As a ground war in the gulf comes closer, so does the prospect of chemical * warfare. If U.S. troops have to fight on a poisoned battlefield, will their gas masks and protective suits keep them safe? The not completely reassuring answer is, Yes, but . . .

The American military gas mask, the M-17, was designed in 1955 and has not been significantly improved since. It has complicated straps and a hood that take time to sort out when delay can be fatal. Its filters are good for an hour or more in mustard gas but cannot be changed while...

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