"They protect us, we protect them."

Decontamination of personal protective equipment and related materials contaminated with toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agent surrogates

Assessed eight decontamination solutions against toxic chemicals on PPE materials.
Neutralization dwell times of two minutes mimicked decontamination line procedures.
Measured neutralization efficacies varied strongly by chemical from minimal to 60%.
Short dwell time and limited amount of decontaminant limits the expected efficacy.
Contribution of neutralization to the decontamination line process is limited.


The goal of this study was to provide quantitative efficacy information relevant to technical and forensic decontamination that may assist safety officers in mitigating health hazards to personnel and minimizing the potential transfer of chemicals by cross-contamination from a chemical incident scene. To achieve this goal, decontamination solutions were evaluated using representative contact times of personal protective equipment (PPE) and related materials with the chemical contaminant at operationally relevant decontamination dwell times. The study included four toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) and two chemical warfare agent (CWA) surrogates, eight decontamination solutions and seven PPE-related materials that would transition through a personnel decontamination line. Measured neutralization efficacies following a 2.0-min dwell time varied strongly by chemical with no/very minimal efficacy observed for decontaminants against materials contaminated with nitrobenzene, chlordane, and phenol. Higher efficacies up to 60% were observed for full strength bleach, RSDL® and EasyDECON® DF200 products against malathion, carbaryl, and 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide. Other decontamination solutions like detergent and water, 10× diluted bleach, and pH-amended bleach were found to be non-efficacious (less than 20%) against any of the chemicals. The short dwell time and limited amount of decontaminant on the contaminated surface limits the expected efficacy. Therefore, the contribution of neutralization to the decontamination process while responders are preparing to doff personal protective equipment may be limited.



Nov. 2017
Paris-Nord Villepinte


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