Defence against gas warfare became a topic of interest in the 1920s after the First World War. Lectures on the subject were first held in 1923, and a school of gas defence was established in Vyborg in 1933. Anti-gas forces became part of the military. Today, they are involved in military engineering, and new recruits are trained in the Pori brigade.

Gas masks were imported for trial use from a variety of countries, but none of them quite seemed to suit the conditions in Finland. Experiments to develop a tailored mask began in 1928. The result was military gas mask M30, which was later replaced by the M61 as atomic weapons raised the standards for protection. Current military masks are worn for extended periods of time, so comfort has become a key design factor.

In addition to being poisonous, hazardous substances are often invisible. ABC defence aims to protect combatants from the effects of nuclear (atomic), biological, and chemical weapons. Detection before exposure is crucial. Methods of protection include installing security measures in fortifications, hiding behind moving objects such as cars, and wearing protective equipment.

Gas detection devices have undergone substantial development over the years. Their reliability has increased while the size has decreased. Automatic detectors pass an air sample through a sensor, utilising a microprocessor to analyse and display the data.

Automatic nerve gas detector M86 is a result of Finnish research. Development began in the early 80s, and newly established Environics Oy continued to work the finer details and modification needs in 1987. The final product was marketed and sold abroad as well, mostly in the Middle East. The device is designed for field use, but it can also be worn to monitor air intake indoors. The M86/A utilises lights and sounds to alert the user. Its distinctive feature is the combination of two different sensor cells to detect nerve gas and burning or overall toxic gases.

Further development on the M86 created the M90. The device was more sensitive than its predecessor and allowed new chemicals to be programmed in. The M90 was both quick to alert the user and swift to purify itself. Its detection functionality is based on ion mobility spectrometry. Other methods include flame photometry, optoacoustic imaging, enzyme chemistry, and semiconductor sensor mechanics.

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