Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has developed a non-toxic, non-corrosive aqueous formulation for rapid decontamination and mitigation of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents to protect civilian targets. The Sandia Decon Formulation can be deployed as a foam, liquid spray, or fog.
Decon Formulation Demonstrations
Decontamination performance for chemical agent simulants
Decontamination Performance for Chemical Agent Simulants
At Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) we tested the decontamination performance of the Sandia Decon Formulation for chemical agent simulants. The chemical agent simulants used were diphenyl chlorophosphate (simulant for G-agents), 2-chlorethyl phenylsulfide (simulant for H-agents) and O-ethyl-S-ethyl Phenylphosphonothioate (simulant for VX). Testing was done via solution tests (i.e., the agent was added to our decontamination solution) and surface tests (i.e., the agent was placed on a surface which was then exposed to our formulation). The half-lives for the decontamination of these CW agent simulants were on the order of few minutes. We utilized NMR studies to demonstrate that destruction of the VX simulant occurred via exclusive cleavage of the P-S bond. The absence of P-O bond cleavage is important since such cleavage would potentially result in the formation of a toxic byproduct. Our decontamination technology does not generate such toxic or hazardous byproducts.
We confirmed our chemical agent simulant test results by contracting with a facility licensed to perform live agent testing. Live agent test results for foam decontamination of paper with GD, VX, and HD are depicted below. The half-lives for the decontamination of these CW agents by the foam is on the order of 2 minutes to 15 minutes.
Decontamination performance for biological agent
Decontamination Performance for Biological Agent
At Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) we tested the decontamination performance of the Sandia Decon Formulation for biological agent simulants. The biological agent simulants used were Bacillus globigii (a simulant for anthrax spores), Erwinia herbicola (a simulant for vegetative bacterial cells), and MS-2 bacteriophage (simulant for viruses). For the B. globigii spores, a 7-log kill was achieved in an hour. Likewise, similar results for the vegetative bacterial cells and the viruses were achieved in 15 and 30 minutes respectively.
We confirmed our biological agent simulant test results by contracting with a facility licensed to perform live agent testing of anthrax. A solution test was performed (i.e., the spores were added to our decontamination solution). As evident in the figure below, a 7-log kill was achieved during a one hour exposure period.
Foam kill of Bacillus anthracis spores after 1 hour of treatment in solution.
Live agent tests for chemical agent decon
Live Agent Tests for Chemical Agent Decon
We submitted the Sandia Decon Formulation to the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) for a Department of Defense sponsored study of our technology. ECBC is located at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The study included a small-scale reaction rate test wherein the liquid used to produce our foam attained complete destruction of chemical agents GD and VX within 10 minutes, and HD within one hour.
Decontamination of paper treated with chemical agent at 25mg/25 cm2. Foam was applied on contaminated paper for a given duration. Residual simulant on the paper and in the foam were determined by GC and added to determine total unreacted agent.
Field demonstration for biological agent simulant decon
Field Demonstration for Biological Agent Simulant Decon
We participated in a field test of the Sandia Decon Formulation at the U.S. Army Proving Grounds at Dugway, UT. This field test was designed to test the effectiveness of formulation in killing anthrax spores. The anthrax simulant, Bacillus globigii was sprayed onto various panels (2' x 2') of materials which would commonly be found in a typical office building. Since the area to be decontaminated was relatively small and to show the versatility of our formulation, the formulation was deployed onto the panels as a spray (using a standard paint sprayer) rather than as a foam. After 20 hours exposure to the formulation, Dugway personnel tested the panels for surviving spores. The tests were repeated on four consecutive days, and the results for the Sandia Decon Formulation are shown below.
B. globigii (anthrax simulant) spore kill during Dugway field tests.
Sandia Lab News & Press Releases
Sandia's Decon Foam
Developed more than a decade ago for remediation of chemical and biological agents and used to decontaminate federal office buildings and mailrooms during the anthrax attacks in 2001, the foam is now being used to decontaminate illegal methamphetamine labs.
Images (Click to enlarge)
Principal investigator Mark Tucker examines two petri dishes: one with a simulant of anthrax growing in it, the other treated with the Sandia Decon Formulation, which has completely killed the simulant.
Live anthrax simulant spores prior to decontamination.
Anthrax simulant spore kill after 1 hour of contact with Sandia Decon Formulation.
Large-scale foam deployment by Mark Tucker.
Mark Tucker illustrates the highly stable foam clings to horizontal and vertical surfaces.
Paul Baca demonstrates small-scale deployment using commercially available handheld foam generator.
Sandia Decon Formulation co-developer Maher Tadros demonstrates application of the formulation from a pressurized canister. The foam could be sprayed from handheld canisters or from trucks, or it could be incorporated into high-profile government military buildings.
Mark Tucker and Cecelia Williams apply Sandia Decon Formulation as a spray on a variety of panels as part of the Dugway Biological Decontamination Field Test.
Office material panels after application of Sandia Decon Formulation as a spray.