Chemical Warfare Agent Degradation and Decontamination

Author(s): S. S. Talmage, A. P. Watson, V. Hauschild, N. B. Munro, J. King

Journal Name: Current Organic Chemistry

Volume 11 , Issue 3 , 2007

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The decontamination of chemical warfare agents (CWA) from structures, environmental media, and even personnel has become an area of particular interest in recent years due to increased homeland security concerns. In addition to terrorist attacks, scenarios such as accidental releases of CWA from U.S. stockpile sites or from historic, buried munitions are also subjects for response planning. To facilitate rapid identification of practical and effective decontamination approaches, this paper reviews pathways of CWA degradation by natural means as well as those resulting from deliberately applied solutions and technologies; these pathways and technologies are compared and contrasted. We then review various technologies, both traditional and recent, with some emphasis on decontamination materials used for surfaces that are difficult to clean. Discussion is limited to the major threat CWA, namely sulfur mustard (HD, bis[2-chloroethyl]sulfide), VX (O-ethyl S-[2-diisopropylaminoethyl] methylphosphonothioate), and the Gseries nerve agents. The principal G-agents are GA (tabun, ethyl N,N-dimethylphosphoramidocyanidate), GB (sarin, isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate), and GD (soman, pinacolyl methylphosphonofluoridate). The chemical decontamination pathways of each agent are outlined, with some discussion of intermediate and final degradation product toxicity. In all cases, and regardless of the CWA degradation pathway chosen for decontamination, it will be necessary to collect and analyze pertinent environmental samples during the treatment phase to confirm attainment of clearance levels.

Keywords: Sulfur Mustard, Decontamination, Nerve Agents, Hypochlorite Solutions, Hydrogen Peroxide, Gels

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Article Details

Year: 2007
Page: [285 - 298]
Pages: 14
DOI: 10.2174/138527207779940892
Price: $58

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