Scientists Develop CW Decontamination Wipe

A Texas-based team has used federal funding to create a wipe that would neutralize chemical warfare materials released in a terrorist attack, the Lubbock, Texas, Avalanche-Journal reported yesterday (see GSN, Dec. 4, 2008).

The thin sheet of carbon is included with a lotion-soaked sponge in a kit that could be distributed to U.S. military personnel and first responders. The items could be used to remove chemical agents from equipment, skin and even eyes and open wounds, says an article published Monday by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The materials could then be placed back in their portable pouch to prevent chemical agents from spreading.

"This is the product of the future, and I'm going to have it for my family," said Ron Kendall, head of the Texas Tech Institute for Environmental and Human Health, where the wipe was developed.

U.S. troops currently carry a decontamination lotion that is intended to replace a carbon-powder-filled pad as the preferred method for decontamination.

The older system releases hazardous carbon particles into the air that could carry traces of chemical-weapon agent absorbed by the wipe, said Seshadri Ramkumar, head of the Nonwoven and Advanced Materials Laboratory at the Institute for Environmental and Human Health.

However, the lotion can also damage computers, cell phones, vehicles and other technology, he added (Marlena Hartz, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, March 10).

March 11, 2009
About

A Texas-based team has used federal funding to create a wipe that would neutralize chemical warfare materials released in a terrorist attack, the Lubbock, Texas, Avalanche-Journal reported yesterday (see GSN, Dec. 4, 2008).