A range of decontamination agents that are effective in removing chemical warfare agents (CWA) from the environment have been developed by George Wagner and a team of chemists at the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Maryland, USA.
These Decon Green agents are hydrogen peroxide-based and mixed with bicarbonates or other non-toxic bases to produce peroxyanions that act to break down CWA, rather than washing them away.
The agents were also shown to remove radiological isotopes such as 137Cs and 60Co from surfaces and break down anthrax (Bacillus anthracis). They can be used at low temperatures (–32 °C) and be prepared in powder form for ease of transport.
The team is seeking to replace current chlorine- and lye-based decontamination agents, which have been shown to form toxic by-products on reaction with CWA such as bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide (agent HD, mustard gas).
All-Weather Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Decontamination of CBRN Contaminants
G. W. Wagner, L. R. Procell, D. C. Sorrick, G. E. Lawson, C. M. Wells, C. M. Reynolds, D. B. Ringelberg, K. L. Foley, G. J. Lumetta, D. L. Blanchard,
Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2010, 49, 3099–3105.