Evaluation of CS (o-Chlorobenzylidene Malononitrile) Concentrations During U.S. Army Mask Confidence Training

All soldiers in the U.S. Army are required to complete mask confidence training with o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS). To instill confidence in the protective capability of the military protective mask, CS is thermally dispersed in a room where soldiers wearing military protective masks are required to conduct various physical exercises, break the seal of their mask, speak, and remove their mask. Soldiers immediately feel the irritating effects of CS when the seal of the mask is broken, which reinforces the mask's ability to shield the soldier from airborne chemical hazards. In the study described in this article, the authors examined the CS concentration inside a mask confidence chamber operated in accordance with U.S. Army training guidelines. The daily average CS concentrations ranged from 2.33-3.29 mg/m^sup 3^ and exceeded the threshold limit value ceiling, the recommended exposure limit ceiling, and the concentration deemed immediately dangerous to life and health. The minimum and maximum CS concentration used during mask confidence training should be evaluated.

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