As he debuted his super hero career as an unlicensed superhero, my main character always wears a gas-mask to conceal his identity and protect himself against tear-gas from police force.
Before getting access to a gadgeteer (someone who provides him the tools and costumes he needs), he relied on a WW3 civilian gas-mask.
From what I researched, there is different kind of protection used in masks (filtering/absorption/reaction). For the sake of precision, his first mask was designed to prevent the contamination by a bio weapon/airborne virus and to protect against military gases. Hence, I guess it'd probably be a combination of filtering/absorbant methods.
The technology level is roughly the same as our own, since it takes place at the end of the 21st century (and no one made some ground-breaking progress in the field of respiratory protection until it was relevant).
I was wondering what immersion in water would do to his mask, if he needed to swim, for example?
Would the water "soak" the filters, thus rendering them inneffective? Would that prevent him to breathe, creating some kind of water-boarding experience?
I'm interested first in the effect for this mask in particular (though you are free to correct me if I misunderstood which protection is used against which threat) but the answers regarding the difference between each types are appreciated.