Sandia LabNews

Army orders decon formulation

US Army orders chem-bio decon formulation in deployment quantities

A decontamination formulation developed at Sandia that renders harmless chemical and biological warfare agents has been selected for deployment by the US Army Central Command (CENTCOM).

CENTCOM, which coordinates overseas military actions, placed an order Sept. 25 with EnviroFoam Technologies, Inc. for tens of thousands of gallons of the company’s EasyDECON solution. The exact quantity ordered is proprietary.

EnviroFoam is one of two US companies granted nonexclusive licenses to the formulation, under development at Sandia since 1997.

The formulation neutralizes both chemical and biological agents and is nontoxic, noncorrosive, and environmentally friendly. (For more, see

The Sandia formulation, on which EasyDECON is based, is proven effective against both biological and chemical agents, can be applied with current military hardware, causes no collateral damage (such as corrosion of equipment), and creates an effluent that can be washed down the drain.

The Army’s order possibly signals a decision to start replacing DS2, CENTCOM’s previous decontamination formula, for use "where the real potential exists for biological and chemical warfare," says EnviroFoam President and CEO Peter Beucher.

Because existing Army procedures and practices are based on DS2 liquid-spray approaches for decontamination, initial applications of EasyDECON will likely be as a liquid spray.

"Our entire team is extremely proud of the vote of confidence demonstrated with this first major acquisition of what we anticipate to be the next generation of decon materials," says Beucher. "It is rewarding to realize that American soldiers will finally have the protection afforded by this novel technology."

"It’s gratifying that a DOE-sponsored effort to help the civilian community deal with terrorism will also play a key role in protecting our military," says Larry

Bustard, Manager of Chemical and Biological Technologies Dept. 6245. "Our team is very proud of the opportunity we have been provided to help protect the nation’s security."

Versions of the Sandia formulation supplied both by EnviroFoam and Modec, the other Sandia licensee, were used to help clean up federal buildings in Washington, D.C., and TV network headquarters buildings in New York following the anthrax-letter mailings in October and November 2001.

The formulation was developed and refined by a team including Maher Tadros (16000), Mark Tucker, Cecilia Williams, Rita Betty, Paul Baca, Caroline Souza (all 6245), Joanne Paul (former Sandian), and Larry.

An ongoing Army-sponsored effort to investigate the extreme-environment impact on the formulation’s performance is being supported by Gary Brown (6233), Danny Engler, and Mollye Wilson (both 6245).