State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued a consumer warning today urging Connecticut citizens to ignore deceptive ads for useless and overpriced gas masks. His warning comes in response to increased sales in gas masks following fears of bioterrorism and chemical warfare in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Blumenthal said many of the gas masks on sale are novelty items that offer no protection from airborne biological or chemical agents. He added that functional gas masks protect against different agents and would likely provide no protection from biological or chemical weapons.

“Most of these masks are useless and overpriced — often pitched with false promises and fear mongering,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “Many gas masks may not protect against the common cold, much less a biological or chemical agent.”

Blumenthal said many masks can even pose dangers to people with asthma, allergies or respiratory conditions.

“Purchasing a gas mask does nothing but line the pockets of store owners and manufacturers who are preying on our country’s heightened sense of fear,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said if residents insist on buying a mask, they should make sure the mask is not a novelty item and check the store’s refund policy. Many stores do not currently offer refunds or exchanges for gas masks.

— Yale Daily News Staff