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Hazmat Suit

"I kind of like it in here, it's private."
Jamie Hyneman, on the unexpected perks of safety equipment

Jazz: "I'm just a normal teenage girl."
Jack: "A normal teenage girl in a hazmat suit."

If you want a good idea if something dangerous is up, probably involving Applied Phlebotinum, look for workers wearing Hazmat Suits.

For dramatic reasons, this may correspond with Malevolent Masked Men or Faceless Goons in visual media. On the other hand, with sympathetic characters, it often turns out that In hazardous environments, everyone can see your face.

If the suits suffer Clothing Damage during dangerous conditions, you can be certain bad things will happen afterwards. Armor Is Useless can apply sometimes, making it all the worse.

In Real Life, not really so sexy as it seems. A Level A Hazmat suit is heavy, clumsy, hot, and uncomfortable. The same properties that see to it that nothing outside can get in also see to it that nothing inside can get out, which includes the wearer's sweat and body odor. You're just out of luck if you are in one when you suffer a Potty Emergency (yes, the CDC do ask if you can hold your pee when you apply to work in a Biosafety Level 4 lab). Plus there's the fact that you're wearing it because something nearby is likely to kill you.

Then there's the thing to the right, which is a heat resistant suit worn when working around things that are excessively hot, such as oil rig fires, iron smelters, active volcanoes, and replicas of invading triremes. You're wearing it because otherwise you'd be turned into a crispy critter in minutes. Even with it, though, you feel like you're in a sauna while wrapped in an unusually stiff duvet, oven mitts, and a hockey helmet.note 

Hazmat or NBC protection is often included in Powered Armor. See also Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment and Gas Mask Mooks. For an old, usually medical themed version see Plague Doctor.

Examples:

Advertising
  • Intel's disco-dancing guys from the late 90s/early 2000s seem to be wearing these, but they're actually "clean suits" used when making microchips. Cleansuits aren't to protect you from your surroundings, they're to protect your surroundings from you (or rather from your moisture/dust). Still, the overall effect's the same.

Anime and Manga
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Misato wears an anti-radiation suit when she tries to stop Jet Alone's nuclear reactor manually.
    • In the first Rebuild of Evangelion movie, NERV staff are shown in full hazmat gear when cleaning up the aftermath of Unit 01's battle with Sachiel. Why is unclear.
  • Used as part of The Reveal in the manga, Cage of Eden, where the heroes find a long abandoned research facility complete with broken People Jars, the DNA samples collected from every animal in the world in cultivation centers, models of the former extinct animals they had to fight the first time they crash landed on the mysterious island, and the aforementioned hazmat suits hanging around, which clues them that the everything on the island was the result of a secret experiment gone wrong.
  • Subverted in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, where a bunch of workers do not wear these because they are full-body cyborgs and do not need them. As it turns out, one man who is not suffers radiation poisoning and the whole thing comes to public attention because the Government tried to hide a nuclear powerplant leak.
  • Aside from the titular characters, who are immune to radiation, everyone in Coppelion wears these inside the ruins of Tokyo.

Comic Books
  • Marvel Comics's A.I.M. uniforms are basically Hazmat suits.
  • In the Tintin album Destination Moon, Captain Haddock and Wolff put on protective suits so they can view the atomic pile. Professor Calculus also ordered a dog-sized suit made for Snowy to wear so he can go with them, but Snowy keeps tripping on the sleeves because the suit is too big for him. They also forget to take the suit off Snowy afterwards.
  • The Avengers Academy student appropriately named 'Hazmat' wears one, though in her case, it's to protect everyone else from her own toxicity.
    • Before Hazmat, the similarly powered Radioactive Man also wore one briefly, though in his case it was purely cosmetic, he could control his own radiation just fine.

Fanfiction

Film
  • The end of the first Resident Evil film features them.
  • The CDA in Monsters, Inc. wears hazmat suits.
  • The Andromeda Strain (1971): when Dr. Stone and Dr Hall investigate the town of Piedmont, they wear sealed suits to protect them against the disease.
  • In Dr. No, the title character and his henchmen wear radiation suits while operating the nuclear reactor. James Bond wears one too while Dressing as the Enemy.
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: in a Shout-Out to Dr. No, Dr. Evil wears a radiation suit while loading the nuclear bomb into the subterranean drill.
  • Back to the Future: Marty dons a radiation suit to handle the plutonium fuel for the DeLorean, and wears it during his trip into the past.
  • All the scientists in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial wear these to study E.T.
  • Worn in Outbreak.
  • Both scientists and soldiers wear these in the 1973 version of The Crazies.
  • Government epidemiologists wear these in REC and its American remake, Quarantine.
  • The "Alien Autopsy" film depicts men in hazmat suits dissecting an alien cadaver. The suits have no air filters or air supply.
  • Part of the problem the crew of K19: The Widowmaker had was that they had been issued suits rated for chemical hazards, not radioactive ones.
    • Which are, ironically, basically the same thing even now (at most the antirad suits will have a polythene liner protecting from neutrons), and certainly were exactly same in The Sixties. That's because nothing short of a solid lead wall could protect a human from the radiation of the live nuclear reactor, wearing which on oneself would've been just a little bit impractical. Thus antirad suits mainly concentrate on preventing the contact with the loose radioactive material.
  • Catwomen Of The Moon: the hero dons a suit to combat a coolant leak, after the obligatory meteor shower damages their nuclear-powered Retro Rocket.
  • Contagion, naturally. The plot involves a terribly contagious virus causing mass death and pandemonium. Also an unique example of a layperson owning a hazmat suit.
  • Hazmats are especially popular in movies where scientists are handling deadly chemicals that are inevitably released outside containment and cause the Zombie Apocalypse. Case in point is Return Of The Living Dead III, where hazmat suits prove to be useless to aggressive zombie attack.
  • Hazmat suits are worn by Royalton's workers when they install a inner-positive transponder in Speed Racer, and, for some reason, their little dog too.
  • The obscure cult film Static has a scene where the main character visits his Crazy Survivalist uncle's house on Christmas, only to find the entire family wearing hazmat suits.
  • Nicolas Cage has problems with his suit's clumsy gloves in The Rock.
  • Godzilla (2014) shows Dr. Serizawa, Dr. Wates and the other M.U.T.O. researchers wearing these while investigating subterranean areas that have been frequented by radioactive Kaiju. Their suits have been somewhat modified with transparent face-plates and lights pointed at their faces so that the audience can more easily tell who's who.

Literature
  • Dean Koontz's Phantoms: when the military shows up to find out what happened to the town of Snowfield, they wear pressurized suits because they think the problem may be caused by chemical/biological warfare. The suits don't help them a bit against the Eldritch Abomination that's the real cause.

Live-Action TV
  • There's a joke about this in an episode of Friends, when they're on the set of Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan. A bunch of actors are standing around in hazmat suits, and Chandler asks, "Are you guys in the movie, or are you just really paranoid?"
  • Various characters wear them in The Pretender episodes "A Virus Among Us" and "Hazards".
  • The CDC wear some in an episode of House when they think a patient has smallpox.
  • Stargate Atlantis has the crew having access to these suits. This particularly applies when a dangerous infection breaks out and the city's operating system begins to lockdown the city on its own. However, two of the characters put on hazmat suits and the city somehow detects this and opens up doors for them as useful personnel who are properly equipped for the crisis.
    • There's also an episode where Rodney insists on wearing a full suit on a planet with slightly higher UV radiation levels than normal, when everyone else just has sunscreen.
  • During one sketch in Jackass, which involves eating the ingredients for an omelette, vomiting them into a pan, and then cooking it, Johnny Knoxville wears a hazmat suit.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation used them in the episode "Crow's Feet", and at least one other time.
    • CSI: NY used them in an episode involving a man who killed his wife and contaminated other people with a radioactive book.
  • All the incarnations of The Stand have them, but aside from the comics, they're most prominent in the TV film.
  • In Doctor Who, we see these in use in "Utopia", where the rising Stet Radiation present under the rocket ends up liquefying the poor sod wearing one. This prevents the rocket lifting off and sending someone else in there would be a death sentence. Luckily, the Doctor has Jack at hand, who doesn't even need a suit.
  • The League of Gentlemen parodies this when a team wear hazmat suits to examine "The Beast of Royston Vasey". First Mr Chinnery throws up in his suit and then, after an X Files style autopsy, the Beast is revealed to be several missing zoo animals, stitched together.
  • Breaking Bad: Walter and Jesse start wearing hazmat suits when they get a fully equipped meth lab from Gus.
  • The Mythbusters have used fire suits (on the line of the page picture), hazmat suits, and bomb suits at different times.
  • In Helix, which depicts an outbreak of The Virus in an arctic research lab, these are part and parcel of interacting with the infected. Both CDC members and Arctic Biosystems staff use them. They're referred to as Racal Suits, a kind of containment suit specifically designed for work with pathogens.

Tabletop Games

Toys
  • Playmobil, creators of small figures in roles varying from SWAT cop to a fairy and unicorn, once released a HAZMAT Crew playset. You don't get this kind of grim realism from LEGO.
    • Actually, you do, just cuter and without the toxic waste.
  • G.I. Joe released a line of "Eco-Warriors" in the 80's, back when environmentalism was cool. The villains, known as "Toxo-Vipers", fought inside bulky, leaky, cut-rate hazmat gear to protect themselves from their hazardous waste-based weaponry.
    • And when the leaky suits got to be too much, the Toxo-Vipers would turn into Toxo-Zombies, who were wearing the suits less for protection and more to hold their bodies together.
    • The idea continued in Generation 3 with the orange-suited Hazard-Vipers.

Video Games
  • Left 4 Dead 2: one type of Uncommon Infected wears Hazmat Suit, which protects the Infected from fire.
    Nick: Guess those suits don't stop bites.
  • Team Fortress 2: the Pyro's HazMat Headcase and the Medic's Das Hazmattenhatten.
  • Subverted with Half-Life's iconic H.E.V. suit; initially presented as a hazmat suit, it's actually more of a Powered Armor. Cue WMG over whether it's simply overengineered for its intended purpose or Black Mesa deliberately designed it for the military.
    • It's even referenced by the G-man before his hibernation.
    G-man: Gordan Freeman, in the flesh - or rather in the hazard suit I took the liberty of relieving you of your weapons. Most of them were government property. As for the suit I think you earned it.
    • For the military (the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, at least) they made a compatible variant with slightly different functionality — the PCV.
  • You can find and buy a few hazmat suits in the Fallout series, as well as finding them on dead researchers. Fallout 3's radiation suit unfortunately offers only 30% - 40% radiation resistance... and thanks to the way the game handles radiation you can still die from standing in a radioactive puddle.
  • Saints Row 2 had a scene where a guy was denying a leak in the nuclear power plant, while wearing a suit.
  • You can find them in Doom and its sequels. They allow you to walk through toxic waste without any harm for a limited time.
  • The concept exists in the Resident Evil games, but it's never used much.
    • A note in the first game indicates that such suits were worn briefly after the start of the outbreak.
    • Suits can be seen hanging up in laboratories in the Outbreak and Dead Aim spin-offs and in Code: Veronica.
    • A researcher in a hazmat suit is brutally smashed against unbreakable glass in Code: Veronica.
    • One hazmat zombie appears in Dead Aim.
  • The S.I.N. scientists in the background of the Street Fighter IV Secret Laboratory and Crumbling Laboratory levels wear hazmat suits. They seem more focused at cheering on the fighters than they are at actually keeping the laboratory working.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl has a few of these, worn by scientists and player characters who expect to go into high-radiation areas. Even most regular kinds of armor has some characteristics of this, and given the environmental hazards of The Zone, it is a significant factor in choosing what kind of protection to wear.
  • Dead Space has the 'RIG', a Powered Armor suit that protects against hazardous gases, vacuum and undead co-workers. It also features build in gravity boots and a holographic projector.
    • Unfortunately the sequels suits have an embarrassing weakness ... they can be breached by a crazy person holding a screwdriver.
  • One level in Call of Duty: Black Ops consists of a shootout in a town covered in clouds of a chemical agent, so everyone's wearing one of these even while trying to kill each other. Visibility is next to nil, your vision is warped by your suit's faceplate, and while the rest of the game uses Regenerating Health, your suit can only take a finite amount of damage before failing.
  • Deus Ex offers them. Alas, the one in the tutorial doesn't work without a patch.
  • These show up in the Marathon Infinity scenario Rubicon. Their appearance is one of the first clues we get that the work the Dangi Corp. is involved in might not be all beneficial to mankind.
  • James Bond Everything or Nothing has this as a "bad guy" fashion, most prominently in "The Machinery of Evil." In a bit of character-recycling, you'll sometimes see them in funny background events at Q's lab.
  • The Glue Gunner monkey in Bloons Tower Defense starts wearing one once you upgrade his glue to corrosive glue.
  • Some mooks in the first Soldier of Fortune wear these, with backpack tanks that explode when shot.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade's Flamethrowers and Chemical Warriors wear suits which are highly resistant against the very weapons they wield against their opponents. Chemical Warriors get bonus points because those suits were originally meant to keep them safe while they work in lovely fields of Toxic Green Rocks that the story calls "Tiberium".
  • One of your science minions, the biochemist, in Evil Genius wears on of these constantly as his character design; given that one of the research tools consists of various tanks of dangerous chemicals and biochemist minions are the best at operating them, is a Justified Trope.
    • Amusingly enough they still take off the helmet when manning the kitchen, resulting in a very small head sticking out of a very bulky suit.

Webcomics

Web Original
  • One Homestar Runner cartoon has the Poopsmith wearing a hazmat suit with the words "Has Matt?" on it.

Western Animation
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Cutie Pox", upon learning of a case of Cutie Pox, some citizens of Ponyville are quick to clad themselves in these (complete with a radiation warning symbol over the wearer's cutie mark).
    • Rarity dons one while attempting to capture vampire fruit bats in "BATS!". Good thing, too, as the helmet successfully protects her from the splatter of being struck by an overripe apple and the vampire fruit bat that tries to lick it off, in a scene that may leave older viewers with flashbacks to Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong.. (wearing one while clearing a real-life bat infestation is highly recommended, if only because bat guano is extremely nasty.)
  • Done in Courage the Cowardly Dog creator John R. Dilworth's early cartoon, "Dirty Birdy", where one of the Amusing Injuries done on the mooning cross-eyed bird by the impatient blue cat is put on a hazmat suit and dunk him in a vat of radioactive green waste which causes him to disappear. He got better of course.
    • Speaking of Courage, Eustace wore one in "The Demon in the Mattress".
  • An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures had a group of villagers besieged by Wile E. Coyote Expy bandits, before the timely arrival of Buster and his friends. One of the punishments dished out on the dastardly bunch is giving them a Fire-Breathing Diner of chili so spicy that one of the villagers serving it wears a hazmat suit to exaggerate the effect.
  • Worn by Sid in Hey Arnold! when he develops an excessive fear of germs after watching a hygiene film.
  • Worn by Homer Simpson in The Simpsons from time to time as part of his job as a safety inspector in Mr. Burn's nuclear power plant. This is seen in the old and new intro theme.
    • Or in one episode, as a convinient place so that Lisa can't hear him swear himself into the next century after learning Bart is driving a car.
  • Worn by Kane's men and Mike in Motorcity during the Zombie Apocalypse in "Going Dutch." Also the Safe-T Suit in "Off the Rack."
  • Danny Phantom: the title character (in ghost form and a few seconds before the accident), Maddie, and Jack'' are seen wearing them. Well Jack and Maddie for the whole series actually!
  • When testing the "n-ray" in Futurama Professor Farnsworth dons a hazmat suit, after assuring the rest of the crew that they'd only need safety goggles.

Real Life
  • Probably the earliest example of a Hazmat Suit was the Plague Doctor outfit worn in Medieval Europe during Black Death epidemics. It consisted of thick leather gloves and boots, heavy oilcloth cloak and pants covering the whole body, and the iconic "bird-man" mask which gave rise to one of the most popular Venetian masks around, the eponymous medico della peste. The mask included the goggles covering the eyes and aromatic herbs in the beak, that supposedly ward off the plague "miasma" and certainly masked the stench of decaying bodies and leaking buboes of the patients. Apparently, these worked quite well.
    • Virtually none of the user's skin was exposed while wearing it, so the risk of being bitten by plague-carrying fleas was much lower, and the waxed material meant the fleas couldn't even grip onto the doctor inside.
  • Ironically, asbestos firesuits turned out to be hazardous in themselves as the very material protecting firefighters threatened to kill them in the longer term with incurable and deadly asbesteosis and mesothelioma.
  • Inverted with the cleanroom suit (often known in computer-chip factories as a 'bunny-suit') whose purpose is to keep dust and such on the wearer from contaminating what they're handling.

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