Sandia LabNews

Sandia-developed formulation among products being used to help rid US facilities of anthrax

Sandia’s decontamination formulation is among the products being used to help rid Capitol Hill buildings of anthrax.

Cleanup workers over the weekend used the formulation (often referred to as a decon foam) to decontaminate the postal room in the Ford Congressional office building in Washington, D.C. The postal room reopened Monday.

They also used the formulation to decon-taminate portions of the Dirksen Congressional Offices during remediation operations.

Two Sandians — Larry Bustard and Mark Tucker (both 6245) — were on site in Washington as technical advisors when the operations began.

The formulation also was used to decontaminate portions of ABC News’ facilities in New York last week.

The foam was first used Oct. 12 at a Denver-area post office (Lab News, Oct. 19), but the white powder it was sprayed on later proved not to be dangerous.

Sandia licensed rights to commercialize the chem-bio formulation to two companies last year — Modec, Inc. (Denver, Colo.) and EnviroFoam Technologies (Huntsville, Ala.) — following a five-year research and development project at Sandia funded by the NNSA’s Chemical and Biological National Security Program. (For more about the formulation’s development, see

EnviroFoam Technologies (EFT) was contracted Oct. 22 to supply its version of the formulation to support the Environmental Protection Agency-led remediation effort on Capitol Hill.

Over the weekend the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory tested EFT’s EasyDECON AB (anthrax blend). The test regimen, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), confirmed the effectiveness of EasyDECON against anthrax. (For more about the EasyDECON product, see EFT’s web site at For more about theMDF product, see Modec’s web site at

Works against chem and bio agents

The Sandia-developed formulation, a cocktail that includes ordinary household substances such as those found in hair conditioner and toothpaste, neutralizes both chemical and biological agents in minutes. It can be applied to a contaminated surface as a liquid spray, mist, fog, or foam.

Traditional decontaminating products typically are based on bleach, chlorinated

solvents, or other hazardous or corrosive materials. Many are designed to work against only a limited number of either chemical or bio-

logical agents.

The Sandia formulation works against a wide variety of both chemical and biological agents and is nontoxic, noncorrosive, and environmentally friendly.

In multiple independent lab tests and military field trials, the formulation was effective against viable anthrax spores and chemical warfare agents. In lab tests at Sandia it also destroyed simulants of anthrax, simulants of chemical agents, vegetative cells, toxins, and viruses.

"It has performed well against biological agents as well as the most worrisome chemical warfare agents such as nerve and blistering agents," says Cecelia Williams (6245), a member of the development team.

Other Sandia team members include Rita Betty, Joanne Paul, and Caroline Souza (all 6245).

Foam co-developer Maher Tadros (Lab News, March 12, 1999) is now in the Advanced Concepts Group (16000).