U.S. military develops anti-terror decontaminants

08:04, June 03, 2010      

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The U.S. military have developed multi-purpose 'green' decontaminants for terrorist attack sites, it was announced on Wednesday.

The eco-friendly cleaners can be used for getting rid of nerve gas, anthrax, and other toxic substances in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, the American Chemical Society (ACS) said.

Such decontaminants are non-toxic, based on ingredients found in foods, cosmetics, and other consumer products, according to the ACS.

The Decon Green suite of decontamination agents are peroxides, the same substances that are in many household cleaners and whitening toothpaste.

To bolster their effectiveness, the peroxides are mixed with bicarbonates or other non-toxic bases. That combination produces peroxyanions, highly reactive ions that can clean just about anything. It ensures that chemical weapons, like nerve gas, will break down completely.

Tests show that each formula can break down toxic chemicals, rather than just washing them away.

Decon Green is quite good at killing anthrax spores, and removing radioactive cesium and cobalt from smooth surfaces. One of the formulas can work in sub-zero temperatures. Another is a powder, which can be easily transported and mixed with water at the scene of an emergency.

All but one of the ingredients in liquid Decon Green can be found in food, cosmetics, hygiene products, or vitamin pills.

A detailed evaluation of the cleansers appears in ACS' Industrial Engineering and Chemistry Research, a bi-monthly journal.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:intern1)

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