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Status Brief


Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Bentham, Martin, "5,000 body bags ordered in case of terrorist chemical attack Government orders 120,000 decontamination suits to be ready for distribution 'in minutes'". SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, December 8, 2002. [1]

  • “THE GOVERNMENT is buying more than 120,000 decontamination suits to protect people from a terrorist chemical or biological attack on potential targets across Britain such as Trafalgar Square.”
  • “Thousands of decontamination showers, shelters, stretchers and other equipment are also being ordered - as well as 5,000 body bags. The equipment, which is intended to be available by the middle of next year at the latest, will be stored at 16 locations, ready to be distributed within minutes of a terrorist attack.”
  • “Philip Ward, the managing director of Ferno UK, the country's leading manufacturer of emergency and rescue equipment, said that his company was among those bidding for the contracts, which were for "huge" quantities that were "getting bigger by the day.”
  • “One batch of contracts, which is about to be awarded, is for 120,000 pre-decontamination suits, to be used immediately after a chemical or biological attack. The contracts will also provide 100,000 post-decontamination suits to be worn by people after their initial treatment. Industry officials say the 20,000 difference reflects the number of deaths likely to occur.”
  • “The treatment, said Mr Ward, would begin with each victim stripping and putting on a pre-decontamination suit. Their clothes would be placed in a separate bag for incineration. Swabs would then be provided for the victims to clean out orifices which could contain traces of the chemical, before each person passed through a shower - set up in shelters at the site of the attack - to wash off the substance. Finally, post-decontamination suits would be given to reclothe the victims.”
  • “Other equipment required by the Government includes 50,000 decontamination shelters, 2,000 stretchers, 2,000 evacuation chairs and 5,000 body bags.He said, however, that pounds 56 million had been allocated this year to prepare for potentially catastrophic terrorist incidents. Some of the money would buy decontamination equipment, which would be held by the fire service.”
  • Decontamination, Public Health, Bioterrorism, Emergency Response


Snyder, James, "Role of the Hospital-Based Microbiology Laboratory in Preparation for and Response to a Bioterrorism Event" Journal of Clinical Microbiology. pg. 1-4, Vol. 41, No.1. Jan. 2003

  • "The main role of the hospital-based clinical microbiology laboratory in support of a biothreat, biocrime, or act of bioterrorism is to "raise suspicion" when a targeted agent is suspected in a human specimen."(Pg. 1)
  • "These plans include the following: (i) criteria for distinguishing the type of bioterroism event; (ii) information regarding access to and utilization of the LRN, including diagnostic testing protocols; (iii) safety guidelines; (iv) communication and notification protocols..." (Pg. 1)
  • "Therefore, risk assessment becomes the responsibility of the clinical microbiologist, infection control personnel, hospital risk management office, and infectious disease physicians." (Pg. 3)
  • "The laboratory, preferably the laboratory director, must establish and include in the laboratory bioterrorism response plan a notification policy that is enacted when a suspicious isolate cannot be ruled out and must be referred to the next higher level laboratory for confirmation of the organism's identity." (Pg. 3)
  • Public Health, Bioterrorism, CDC, Lab Safety, Biodetection, Biodefense, Biosafety, Biosecurity, Decontamination, Personnel Reliability

Barbaro, Michael, "A Worst-Case Enterprise; Md. Firm Busy Making Decontamination Shelters". The Washington Post. March 13, 2003.

  • “The doomsday shower can sanitize 800 people an hour. It boasts separate rinse stations for contaminated men and women. It can be set up by four people in less than 10 minutes. And storage is a cinch: It takes up about as much space as a typical washing machine.”
  • “TVI Corp. of Glenn Dale says it can't keep up with back orders for its decontamination shelters, even after doubling its workforce to about 90 last year. Sales of its shelter, which sells for around $ 88,000, nearly tripled in 2002.”
  • “But TVI's flagship product is the High Throughput Mass Decontamination Shelter, a car-wash-like structure for humans that has at least 50 shower nozzles threaded into its vinyl interior, a hot water pump and soap dispensers. It is designed to be attached to a fire hose and has at least three shower lanes to separate men, women and the incapacitated after an attack.”
  • “The product is designed for particular situations. If a "dirty" nuclear bomb is detonated or a biochemical agent is released, for example, people who flee the scene before being decontaminated would risk exposing others to the danger. The shelters would be used to rapidly contain the threat.”
  • “The decontamination shelters operate on a simple principle.“You just cream people with water," said Thomas D. Gibson, a lieutenant with the hazardous materials team at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda.”
  • “"Decontamination is the same whether you are talking about chemical, biological or radiological agents," said Clendenin, the Massachusetts fire official. "Soap and water is never a bad thing."”
  • Decontamination, Bioterrorism, Public Health, Emergency Response, Biotechnology

Goldstein, Avram, “Progress Cited on Health Threat; 'We're Worlds Better Prepared,' City Official Says”. The Washington Post, April 17, 2003.

  • “They are buying protective gear; expanding drug, food and water stockpiles; adding or enhancing decontamination facilities outside emergency rooms; and creating patient isolation rooms to help control a smallpox outbreak.”
  • “The city has set up an elaborate incident command center that is so new it hasn't been seen by Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), said Feseha Woldu, acting administrator of the D.C. Emergency Health and Medical Services Administration.”
  • “The District has expanded its epidemiology staff to eight and assigned nearly 60 city workers to bioterrorism preparedness. Meanwhile, hundreds of private doctors and nurses have volunteered to deliver health care services or to provide information to the public by phone or computer if called upon by the city.”
  • “"We live in the No. 1 terrorist target in the world," said Jeffrey A. Elting, medical director for bioterrorism response coordination at the D.C. Hospital Association. That stark reality has spurred much of the cooperation, he said.”
  • “The best example is a radio system that enables all hospitals to communicate if telephone service is interrupted, allowing them to rapidly exchange information on their capacity to accept new patients and lend each other equipment and supplies. It also would let public health officials broadcast messages to hospitals regarding the dimensions and type of event. The system is tested a few times a day, when roll is called.”
  • “The survey found that, on average, hospitals can generate their own electric power for 5.8 days. Without outside help, surveyed hospitals said, they had enough food to last 4.7 days, water for 2.5 days, and medical supplies for 7.1 days.”
  • “At Providence Hospital, officials are buying 20 protective full-body suits, including respirators, so doctors and nurses can safely and rapidly care for people contaminated by dangerous chemicals or pathogens. They also are buying a mobile decontamination unit where patients exposed to hazardous substances can shower.”
  • “If a smallpox outbreak occurred, Providence has 12 patient rooms and a 16-bed unit that can be isolated to keep a virus from spreading to unprotected patients and staff. The hospital also has eight portable HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration units that can convert a room or even a plastic tent to a temporary isolation unit.”
  • “He said the hospital does not want to use the inflatable decontamination units they already have because they take too long to set up -- 18 minutes.”
  • “Wuerker said 12 people have been vaccinated for smallpox, including himself, and another 12 are scheduled. With that many first-line responders, he said, all 5,000 hospital workers could be vaccinated quickly to prepare for an outbreak.”
  • “Exactly which surge facilities might be needed and when is unpredictable and depends on the exact location and nature of and attack, officials say. Instructions and guidance would be offered by public health officials through electronic and print media, they say.”
  • "Sibley Memorial Hospital has 16 negative-pressure rooms and a small decontamination shower that is being renovated. Like other hospitals, Sibley has zoned ventilation systems that can quickly shut down if outside air is tainted."
  • "Washington Hospital Center, the region's largest medical facility, has 32 negative-pressure isolation rooms -- which don't allow air with contagious germs to flow into other areas -- and is planning more, said Christopher Wuerker, chairman of the emergency preparedness committee."
  • Public Health, Bioterrorism, Emergency Response, Vaccination, Biotechnology, Decontamination

Editors, "Hospitals are not prepared for terror". The Toronto Star. January 31, 2003.

  • “Decontamination of chemically or radiologically contaminated patients, ideally prior to entering the health-care facility, is a critical step in the delivery of care. Only 18 of 59 hospitals (30 per cent) had a decontamination area or a plan to establish one.”
  • “The ideal system defines two areas: one where contaminated patients arrive for decontamination (the "hot" zone) and one where decontaminated patients receive care (the "cold" zone). Absence of this kind of system indicates a potentially ineffective plan. In our survey, only five emergency rooms (8 per cent) with a decontamination plan had a hot/cold system. This raises the concern that, even among hospitals with decontamination plans, the systems may not be sufficient.”
  • “Emergency departments that have no decontamination plan must provide protective equipment so staff can function at relatively low risk. But only 41 per cent of the emergency department surveyed had protective coveralls and only 19 per cent had either gas masks”
  • “Health regions often plan to store drugs in a central repository and deliver them when requested. This may not work in a true event”
  • “Preparedness for chemical agents requires a readily available stock of antidotes. In this survey, we asked specifically about atropine, cyanide kits, and benzodiazepines and pralidoxime (for nerve agents). Most sites surveyed had inadequate supplies on hand. This is worrisome because, terrorism aside, these antidotes are also useful for patients with toxic ingestions”
  • Decontamination, Bioterrorism, Public Health, Emergency Response


Bevelacqua, Armando, "THE NEW HAZ-MAT QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOUR BIOLOGICAL CAPABILITIES?". Pen Well Publishing Co. November 2004.

  • “In some cases, fire response personnel used levels of protection specifically designed for chemical entry (level B and level A encapsulation), multiple alarms to handle one ounce of powder assumed to have hazardous qualities, and countless .support resources, in some places, powder found outside donut shops and funnel cake stands bad tire response personnel dressed in level A just for a cleanup.” (Pg. 1)
  • “We must have protocols in place—actions that are followed and performed in conjunction with the public health service. A biological event is a public health response, and a health representative must be involved with the education, training, and tactical response so the system can act as one.” (Pg. 1)
  • “A relationship must be established with the local Federal Bureau of Investigation's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) coordinator to obtain guidance and collaboration in support of procedure and documentation” (Pg. 2)
  • “The key issue to consider is if the environment has been identified strictly as a chemical or a potential biological. The fundamental answer comes from the air-monitoring/ detection systems within the response agency” (Pg. 3)
  • “Joint Hazard Assessment Teams" (JHAT). JHAT teams are comprised of two haz-mat with a law enforcement representative [additional strike teams have developed into three-person teams comprised of a haz-mat person, an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD). and a law enforcement crime scene officer or intelligence unit representative]” (Pg. 3)
  • Bioterrorism, Decontamination, Public Health, Quarantine, Emergency Response


Lowell, Jennifer, "Identifying Sources of Human Exposure to Plague". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Pg. 650-656. Vol. 43, No. 2.

  • "Approximately 3,000 human cases occur worldwide annually, with 12 to 15 cases reported each year in the western United States"
  • "Two of the primary objectives of routine epidemiology plague investigations are to identify the source of human exposure and to assess the exposure site for potential continuing risk."
  • "The use of molecular epidemiological techniques in these investigations has been particularly difficult for Y. pestis because of its apparent lack of genetic variation."
  • "When combined with epidemiologic information, judicious use of genetic data from nonhuman organisms is highly attractive because of the power of DNA-based analyses to identify exposure sources."
  • Public Health, Pandemic, Plague, Decontamination, Biodetection, Bioterrorism, Biodefense, Biosafety

Rose, Laura, "Chlorine Inactivation of Bacterial Bioterrorism Agents". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Pg. 566-568, Vol. 71, No.1


  • “In the case of a medical radiation emergency, response and recovery radiation exposure limits should be established to preserve lifesaving capabilities while taking into consideration risk to staff and facility operation.” (Pg. 13)
  • “After removal of contaminated clothing, patients should be instructed (or assisted if necessary) to immediately shower with soap and water. Potentially harmful practices, such as bathing patients with bleach solutions, are unnecessary and should be avoided” (Pg. 17)
  • “Patient clothing should be handled only by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, and placed in an impervious bag to prevent further environmental contamination.” (Pg. 17)
  • “Gloves should be worn when contact with blood or body fluids is anticipated. Gloves should be removed immediately, without touching non-contaminated surfaces, as soon as the patient care task is complete.” (Pg. 17- 18)
  • “Facial protection should be worn when performing patient care tasks likely to generate splashing or spraying of blood and body fluids onto the mucous membranes of the face.” (Pg. 18)
  • “Disposable fluid-repelling gowns should be worn to protect skin and clothing” (Pg. 18)
  • “Hospitals should plan for decontamination operations that will not exceed their capacity, but should also develop a contingency plan for mass decontamination when patient numbers do exceed their capacity.” (Pg 19)
  • "Ensure large quantities of water are available for decontamination in order to dilute the agent as much as possible. Direct excess waste water to the sanitary sewer and immediately notify the POTW and/or MS4.” (PG. 21)
  • Decontamination, Public Health, Quarantine, Nuclear, Biosecurity, Biosafety, Biotechnology, CDC, Bioterrorism, Biodefense

Knauss, Tim, “U.N. to Get Bioterror Agent Decontamination Systems” NTI. Dec. 13, 2005. [3]

  • “Two $60,000 machines capable of cleansing mail of anthrax and other biological agents were completed”
  • “BioDefense said independent tests confirm that the system, which was created after the September 2001 al-Qaeda attacks, is capable of eliminating anthrax, smallpox, ricin, HIV, influenza, botulism and the plague”
  • Bioterrorism, Biodefense, Public Health, Anthrax, Smallpox, Ricin, Decontamination


Snyder, Michael and Sobieski, Thomas, "Decontamination Operations in a Mass Casualty Scenario" Joint Force Quarterly. 2008.

  • “principles of decontamination that also apply to a nuclear detonation scenario: expect a 5:1 ratio of unaffected to affected casualties, decontaminate as soon as possible, disrobing is decontamination: top to bottom, more is better, water flushing generally is the best mass decontamination method, after known exposure to a liquid agent, first responders must self-decontaminate as soon as possible to avoid serious effects” (Pg. 2)
  • “DSCA environment require special considerations by military CBRN planners in the following areas: determining who needs to be decontaminated, multisite operations, integration of decontamination operations with other plans, disposition of runoff, disposition of personal effects, accountability, crowd control.” (Pg. 3)
  • “It is reasonable to assume that not everyone within the evacuation zone would be contaminated. Identifying those who are “clean” would greatly reduce the resources needed and expended” (Pg. 3)
  • “To respond to the magnitude of need, several mass decontamination sites probably would be established around the plume perimeter.” (Pg. 4)
  • “Successful decontamination operations include planning initial medical triage and follow-on medical care, as well as providing subsequent transport, clothing, food, and shelter to all those who process through prescreening.” (Pg. 4)
  • “Keeping large groups orderly is essential for effective mass decontamination operations. Local law enforcement would vector victims to the various mass decontamination sites established upwind of the blast and outside the projected plume path.” (Pg. 4)
  • Decontamination, Emergency Response, Bioterrorism, Public Health, Homeland Security, Quarantine


Zukas, Walter, Cabrera, Catherine, Harper, James, Kunz, et al., “Assessment of Nanotechnology for Chemical Biological Defense,” in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense, Chapter 9, American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 2009.

  • ”The term nanotechnology generally refers to the evolving body of tools and knowledge that allow manipulation of material structures at the scale of approximately 10-100 nanometers and to understand the relationship between nanometer scale features and the macroscopic properties of materials. Rapid progress in the development of analytical tools to probe the nanometer scale and to manipulate materials at this scale has led to a dramatic increase in the number and diversity of research programs on nanoscience and technology.” P. 10
  • ”…the deeply scaled dimensions of nanoparticles enhance the surface-area-to-volume ratio, and suitable surface chemistry can then lead to highly efficient sensing schemes or catalytic reactions.” P. 10
  • ”…sorption-based detection is the one most suited for application of nanotechnology. ….on the nanoscale of living systems, all sensing and molecular recognition functions are based on sorption of some sort, suggesting that man-made sensing systems aimed at mimicking biological systems will most likely use this mechanism. When a molecule adsorbs [SIC] to a surface it not only changes the mass at the surface, but it can also impart changes in the electrical, optical, and/or luminescent properties, all of which have been explored as mechanisms for chemical sensing. High surface-area-to-volume ratio nanostructures generally exhibit amplified responses to these properties, leading to sensor demonstrations with unprecedented sensitivity.” P. 10
  • ”Nanotechnology may also play a role in development of non-caustic decontamination treatments. Most non-caustic decontamination chemicals exhibit slower reaction rates with agents than caustic chemicals such as bleach or sodium hydroxide.” P. 10
  • ”CB agents pose extreme challenges for detection, protection, and decontamination. Their characteristic feature is their high lethality, so that even minute amounts (micrograms to milligrams) can constitute a lethal dose. Therefore, the fundamental challenge of CBD is to develop products which are highly sensitive, selective, and efficient. Sensors must detect agents at levels well below LD50, and still having extremely low levels of false alarms.” P. 12
  • ”Calometric means to detect this heat would obviate the need for engineering fluorescent centers into the receptor, and could result for a whole new class of sensors, but other detection methods may also be feasible.” P. 14
  • ”The vast majority of nanotechnology-based CB sensor research has focused on ultra-sensitive transducers such as nanowires, nanotubes, and cantilevers (14-16). However, sensing elements are only useful if particles of interest are present in the sample volume being interrogated; as the volume decreases, the effective concentration in the sample must increase (17).” P. 14
  • ”Nano-permeable membranes (NPMs), especially those based on carbon nanontubes, have been the focus of extensive research. Recently, several groups have reported that the transport of water through nanotube pores is [SIC] orders of magnitude higher than predicted by classical hydrodynamic theories (87-89). … The field appears to have excellent potential to yield substantial valuable results from an investment focused on projects specifically tailored to address chem/bio protection, and the long-standing need for permselective membranes with improved water transport and high selectivity.” P. 18
  • ”The recommendation is to focus on projects that seek to extend these results to applications of direct relevance to CBD (e.g. chemical and biological agent prophylaxis, vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments) and that seek to demonstrate that the nanoscale features of these methods to offer revolutionary capability improvements when compared to traditional approaches.” P. 18
  • Chemical, Chemical Surveillance, Biodetection, Biosurveillance, Vaccination, Decontamination

Hartz, Marlena, “Scientists Develop CW Decontamination Wipe” NTI. March 11, 2009. [4]

  • “A Texas-based team has used federal funding to create a wipe that would neutralize chemical warfare materials released in a terrorist attack”
  • “The thin sheet of carbon is included with a lotion-soaked sponge in a kit that could be distributed to U.S. military personnel and first responders. The items could be used to remove chemical agents from equipment, skin and even eyes and open wounds”
  • Decontamination, Bioterrorism, Public Health, Emergency Response, Military

Kuomikakis, Bill, Ho, Jim and Duncan, Scott, "Anthrax Letters: Personal Exposure, Building Contamination, and Effectiveness of Immediate Mitigation Measures," Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 7:2, 71-79. First Published on December 15, 2009.

  • "This report is the first detailed and quantitative study of potential mitigation procedures intended to deal with anthrax letters using a simulated anthrax letter release within an actual office building."
  • "Several scenarios were devised to examine the effects of personnel movement on these characteristics as well as determining the effects of some potential mitigation techniques and published response guidelines for anthrax letters."
  • "Following each trial, all samplers as well as the table and chair at the release point were cleaned with 10% household bleach solution. At the completion of each scenario, extensive decontamination was performed."
  • "Opening a spore-containing letter at the release point resulted in a rapid increase in the spore aerosol concentration in less that 1 min after beginning to open the letter."
  • "The strategies tested in this study all proved to be ineffective, clearly demonstrating the extreme difficulties posed in attempting to respond to anthrax letter incidents."
  • "The rapid spread of spores outside the office where the letter was opened would make it difficult to devise a practical quick response protocol to prevent the spread."
  • "Based on this work we believe that existing response guidelines should be reassessed to provide a scientific basis on whether the procedures achieve the intended mitigation."
  • Anthrax, Decontamination, Emergency Response, Biodefense


Bouri, Nidhi & Franco, Crystal, "Environmental Decontamination Following a Large-Scale Bioterrorism Attack: Federal Progress and Remaining Gaps," Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, Volume 8, Number 2, 2010. April 7, 2010.

  • "The process of environmental decontamination is a key step in a successful response to a large-scale attack involving a biological agent. Costs for the decontamination response following the 2001 anthrax attacks were estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and some facilities could not be reopened for more than 2 years."
  • "However, a large-scale biological attack would likely result in an even greater amount of contamination, more areas that need to be cleaned and made safe, and a much greater cost to the American public."
  • "The Select Biological Agents (biological organisms of particular concern) can be categorized along a continuum of decontamination difficulty, ranging from not problematic to very problematic, with a range of difficulty in between. Factors influencing the difficulty of decontamination for a particular agent following a biological attack would include both the natural stability of the agent in the environment and added man-made stability through weaponization."
  • "Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is considered to be the most problematic agent of concern. Anthrax is both a threat to human health and extremely hardy in the environment. Thus, anthrax requires extensive environmental decontamination following a release."
  • "The main purpose of this analysis is to identify the gaps in decontamination policy and technical practice at the federal level, including safety standards, that must be addressed in order to facilitate a successful response to a large-scale attack involving a biological agent."
  • "The U.S. intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of State, the National Intelligence Council, and the Defense Science Board, has assessed the threat of an attack on the U.S. using biological weapons, and they have determined that the threat of a biological attack on the U.S. is current and real.14 Yet, as noted by the Com- mission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (the Commission) in their World at Risk report released in December 2008, the U.S. remains vulnerable and unprepared to deal with such an attack."
  • "Decontamination is the process of removing or inactivating a hazardous substance (in this case, a biological agent) from contaminated environments or surfaces, including skin, clothing, buildings, air, and water, in order to prevent adverse health events from occurring. Remediation fol- lowing an attack with a biological weapon will involve a number of different phases of response, including: Sampling, Testing, and Analysis; Containment and Mitigation; Decontamination, Confirmatory Sampling, and Testing"
  • "Although efforts are underway and advancements have been made in the field of biological agent decontamination, there are a number of high-level policy and scientific questions that have not yet been resolved. These gaps will be major stumbling blocks to a successful decontamination response following a large bioterrorism attack. Gaps include challenges in leadership, research coordination, funding, and decontamination response."
  • "Numerous federal agencies have responsibility for portions of the decontamination response to a bioterrorism attack. Yet, federal plans do not sufficiently delineate decontamination leadership roles and responsibilities."
  • "Currently, the U.S. lacks a coordinated and sustained federal research program in biological decontamination."
  • "The federal government does not have the human resources to carry out a decontamination response on its own, even for a small biological event."
  • "The nation must be ready to effectively and efficiently respond to and recover from a large-scale bioterrorism attack, and the federal government must take steps now to ensure that the U.S. has the technical and operational capabilities necessary to re- cover after an attack."
  • “The DOD Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) strives to develop capabilities for decontamination research and response ‘‘that enable the quick restoration of combat power, maintain/recover essential functions that are free from the effects of CBRN hazards, and facilitate the return to pre-incident operational capability””(Pg. 3)
  • “Investment now in biological decontamination research to improve technologies and methods has the potential to save the country tens of billions of dollars in clean-up costs for the next event” (Pg. 5)
  • “The risks of secondary aerosolization are important to understand, because they will greatly affect decontamination methods and standards, as well as policy decisions surrounding evacuation, transportation, and population movement” (Pg. 6)
  • “The federal government does not have the human resources to carry out a decontamination response on its own, even for a small biological event” (Pg. 7)
  • Decontamination, Anthrax, Biodefense, Biosafety, Bioterrorism, Emergency Response, Public Health, Biosecurity, Quarantine,

Editors, “Bioterrorism Decontamination Could Cost Trillions, Report Warns” NTI. April 13, 2010. [5]

  • “The United States might need to spend trillions of dollars to decontaminate the site of a major biological attack”
  • “The federal government has not assigned clear-cut cleanup research and execution duties to the federal entities that would be most involved in dealing with the aftermath of a biological strike”
  • “The paper urges the Homeland Security Department to designate clearer decontamination duties to each federal agency, and it presses lawmakers to increase spending on biological-weapon cleanup studies and personnel”
  • Bioterrorism, Public Health, Decontamination, Quarantine, Emergency Response

Deepreecha, Wiwa, Industry News, Water and Wastewater, [6], September 13 2010, Last Checked September 22, 2010.

  • "Practical Applications, Inc. (PAI), a leading environmental company, has just commissioned the chemical/biological decontamination system (chemical kill system) at the Center For Medical Science in Albany, NY."
  • "The system is designed to treat laboratory wastewater for CMS's BSL-3 facility. The treatment uses chemical dosing to kill bacteria, viruses, and spores that may be discharged from the laboratory equipment including sinks, autoclaves, glass washers and showers. Commissioning was achieved using a modified/deactivated strain of anthrax. "
  • Decontamination

Redlup, Tina, "DRS Technologies receives order for transportable decontamination systems,", NEWS, September 17 2010. [7], Last Checked September 23, 2010.

  • "DRS Technologies has received a $32.4 million order from Natick Contracting Division to provide small scale joint service transportable decontamination systems to combat biological warfare agents."
  • "The decontamination systems are used to support thorough and operational decontamination of non-sensitive military materials and facilities that have been exposed to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warfare agents."
  • "Roger Sexauer, president of DRS Power and Environmental Systems' business group, said that the JSTDS-SS is transportable and capable of being operated in close proximity to combat operations off-road, over virtually any terrain."
  • Decontamination

Raber, Ellen and Burklund, Alison, "Decontamination Options for Bacillus anthracis-Contaminated Drinking Water Determined from Spore Surrogate Studies," Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, October 2010, p. 6631-6638, Vol. 76, No. 19. [8]. Last Checked October 5, 2010.

  • "Five parameters were evaluated with surrogates of Bacillus anthracis spores to determine effective decontamination alternatives for use in a contaminated drinking water supply. The parameters were as follows: (i) type of Bacillus spore surrogate (B. thuringiensis or B. atrophaeus), (ii) spore concentration in suspension (102 and 106 spores/ml), (iii) chemical characteristics of the decontaminant (sodium dichloro-S-triazinetrione dihydrate [Dichlor], hydrogen peroxide, potassium peroxymonosulfate [Oxone], sodium hypochlorite, and VirkonS), (iv) decontaminant concentration (0.01% to 5%), and (v) exposure time to decontaminant (10 min to 1 h)."
  • "Hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of 5% and Dichlor or sodium hypochlorite at a concentration of 2% were highly effective at spore inactivation regardless of spore type tested, spore exposure time, or spore concentration evaluated."
  • "This is the first reported study of Dichlor as an effective decontaminant for B. anthracis spore surrogates. Dichlor's desirable characteristics of high oxidation potential, high level of free chlorine, and a more neutral pH than that of other oxidizers evaluated appear to make it an excellent alternative."
  • Anthrax, Decontamination

Dulnier, Pat, "Pool chemical could be effective at cleaning anthrax-tainted water supplies,", NEWS, October 4, 2010, [9]. Last Checked October 6, 2010.

  • "New research has revealed that a common pool chemical could effectively be used as a decontaminant for water supplies that are tainted with anthrax."
  • "The mother-daughter team tested five chemical candidates to determine the most effective for destroying Bacillus anthracis spores within a large public water system without posing risks to health or the environment."
  • "While decontaminants have been tested for anthrax on hard surfaces, there is not a currently accepted approach for cleaning drinking water supplies. Research suggests, reports, that a ten-fold increase in standard chlorination would be effective."
  • "Studies that have tested methods of killing anthrax in water focused on high concentrations of anthrax spores. Raber surmised, however, that a release of anthrax into the public water system would be diluted across the whole system."
  • "Three of the chemicals - hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite and Dichlor - proved to be 100 percent effective. Dichlor is commonly used to treat swimming pools and had not been tested previously as an anthrax decontaminant. It proved to be the best option based upon its safety profile and ability to degrade into non-toxic products."
  • Anthrax, Decontamination

Lemyre, Louise, et. al., "Psychosocial Considerations for Mass Decontamination," Journal, Radiation Protection Dosimetry, pp. 1-7, October 5, 2010.

  • "Mass exposure to explosions, infectious agents, foodborne illnesses, chemicals or radiological materials may require mass decontamination that have critical psychosocial implications the public and for both traditional and non-traditional responders in terms of impact and of response."
  • "In this paper, a common platform for mass casualty management is explored and suggestions for mass interventions are proposed across the complete event timeline, from pre-event threat and warning stages through to the impact and reconstruction phases. Implication for responders, healthcare and emergency infrastructure, public behavior, screening processes, risk communication and media management are described."
  • "Mass decontamination involving large cohorts of the general public remains a gap in preparedness."
  • "This paper will present psychosocial considerations for a generic platform, followed by a discussion of six main psychosocial issues are are common to mass decontamination events: (i) perception, (ii) somatisation, (iii) media role and communication, (iv) information sharing, (v) behavioural guidance and (vi) organisational issues."
  • Decontamination, Biodefense

Curtis, Bobbie A., 2nd Marine Logistics Group runs Marines, sailors through advanced decontamination sustainment training",, 2nd Marines Logistics Group. October 10, 2010 [10]. Last checked 10/19/2010.

  • "The four day course, taught by the Marines and Navy corpsmen of the 2nd MLG CBRN section, was designed to teach troops the skills needed to decontaminate personnel and equipment in a contaminated environment."
  • "Corporal Michael J. Bell, the chief instructor from 2nd MLG CBRN, explained that a CBRN defense specialist may not always be on hand and it’s important for all Marines to have a good grasp on CBRN operations."
  • "This was the second time the course was offered and Bell said that the section hopes to train much of the 2nd MLG to prepare them for possible CBRN incidents."
  • Decontamination

Broad, William, J., "U.S. Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable," NYT, December 15, 2010. Last checked December 16, 2010 [11]

  • "Officials say they are moving aggressively to conduct drills, prepare communication guides and raise awareness among emergency planners of how to educate the public."
  • "The new wave is citizen preparedness. For people who survive the initial blast, the main advice is to fight the impulse to run and instead seek shelter from lethal radioactivity. Even a few hours of protection, officials say, can greatly increase survival rates."
  • "A nuclear blast produces a blinding flash, burning heat and crushing wind. The fireball and mushroom cloud carry radioactive particles upward, and the wind sends them near and far. The government initially knew little about radioactive fallout. But in the 1950s, as the cold war intensified, scientists monitoring test explosions learned that the tiny particles throbbed with fission products — fragments of split atoms, many highly radioactive and potentially lethal."
  • "The Department of Homeland Security financed a multiagency modeling effort led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The scientists looked at Washington, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other big cities, using computers to simulate details of the urban landscape and terrorist bombs. The results were revealing. For instance, the scientists found that a bomb’s flash would blind many drivers, causing accidents and complicating evacuation. The big surprise was how taking shelter for as little as several hours made a huge difference in survival rates."
  • "If people in Los Angeles a mile or more from ground zero of an attack took no shelter, Mr. Buddemeier said, there would be 285,000 casualties from fallout in that region. Taking shelter in a place with minimal protection, like a car, would cut that figure to 125,000 deaths or injuries, he said. A shallow basement would further reduce it to 45,000 casualties. And the core of a big office building or an underground garage would provide the best shelter of all."
  • "Soon after Mr. Obama arrived at the White House, he embarked a global campaign to fight atomic terrorism and sped up domestic planning for disaster response. A senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the new administration began a revision of the Bush administration’s handbook to address the issue of public communication."
  • "'The most lives,' the handbook said, 'will be saved in the first 60 minutes through sheltering in place..”
  • Emergency Response, Nuclear, Decontamination, WMD


Editors, "How To Prepare For A Terrorist Attack" Homeland. 2011. [12]

  • “Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or e-mail to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact”
  • “Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated”
  • “You need to know if they will they keep children at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pickup”
  • “If Disaster Strikes: Remain calm and be patient, Follow the advice of local emergency officials, Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions, If the disaster occurs near you, check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.”
  • "Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes so you can be protected as much as possible."
  • "Go to an interior room without windows that’s above ground level. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room"
  • "People who may have come into contact with a biological or chemical agent may need to go through a decontamination procedure and receive medical attention."
  • Public Health, Emergency Response, Biosafety, Bioterrorism, Decontamination

Knox, Richard, "Decontamination After Radiation Exposure: Simpler Than You May Think". NPR. March 17, 2011. [13]

  • “"As a rule of thumb, 80 percent of decontamination is removing your clothes," says Toner, an emergency physician. "And 95 percent is removing your clothes and taking a shower — if possible, shampooing your hair. That's all that's involved. No fancy chemicals."”
  • “So a rain is a good thing at the time of, or after, a radiation leak. Rain washes the dust from the air, diluting it in runoff.”
  • “And this is the most worrisome form of contamination – internal contamination. The bad stuff on skin and clothes is easily washed off. But once radioactive particles get inside the body – through breathing in, but more importantly from ingestion – it can remain in tissues, possibly wreaking submicroscopic havoc, for a lifetime.”
  • Nuclear, Bioterrorism, Public Health, Decontamination

Editors, "Fukushima Cleanup to Cost Minimum of $13B" NTI. Oct. 21, 2011 [14]

  • “The Japanese government said it anticipates spending a minimum of $13 billion to rehabilitate all of the territory exposed to radioactive contaminants from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex”
  • “"At least 1 trillion yen will be budgeted as we take on the responsibility for decontamination,"”
  • “The six-reactor Fukushima atomic power plant was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that left thousands missing or dead in Japan. Radiation emissions on a scale not recorded since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster necessitated the evacuation of some 80,000 Japanese citizens from a 12-mile area surrounding the hobbled atomic facility in Fukushima prefecture”
  • Nuclear, Decontamination, Public Health, Russia

Editors, "Boosting "Natural Killer" Cells May Counteract Anthrax" NTI. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 [15]

  • “The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston said last week that researchers there believe they have discovered a novel tool in combating anthrax infection -- naturally occurring "natural killer" cells”
  • “"People become ill so suddenly from inhalational anthrax that there isn’t time for a T cell response, the more traditional cellular immune response," UTMB assistant professor Janice Endsley said in released comments. "NK cells can do a lot of the same things, and they can do them immediately."”
  • “The scientists tested anthrax on mice that had their natural killer cells removed and those that retained the cells. Exposure to a high level of anthrax spores killed all the mice equally quickly, but the mice that still had the natural killer cells showed significantly reduced amounts of blood-borne anthrax bacteria than their counterparts.”
  • Anthrax,Public Health, Vaccination, Synthetic Biology, Decontamination, Bioterrorism, Biodefense

Editors, "Survey to compile detailed radiation map in Fukushima begins". Mainichi Daily News. Nov. 8th 2011. [16]

  • “Measurements will be taken by unmanned helicopters around woodland and rivers, while monitoring vehicles will travel along roads in residential areas, it said.”
  • “The survey is "the first step of decontamination work by the government," said Soichiro Seki, a senior Environment Ministry official."We will try hard to restore normal conditions in Fukushima, keeping in mind that Fukushima cannot be revitalized without decontamination."”
  • Chemical, Decontamination, Public Health, Nuclear, Biodetection, Biosafety, Biodefense, Biosecurity


µµ Choi, Charles Q., "Custom-Designed Proteins Could Counteract Chemical Weapons", 7 February 2012,, [17], Last Checked 12 February 2012.

  • "Custom-designed proteins made with the aid of computers could fight chemical weapons such as nerve gas and help decontaminate toxic-waste sites, scientists say.
  • "In recent years, computer design of proteins has made great leaps forward, developing molecules with new kinds of structures and properties. However, few efforts have been made to incorporate metals into these computationally designed molecules. Metals are key, highly reactive parts of many proteins—for instance, the iron in the blood-protein hemoglobin helps it transport oxygen inside our bodies."
  • "Now, researchers have used computers to design a protein containing zinc that can degrade molecules similarly to sarin gas, a weapon of mass destruction created by Germany during World War II that attacks the nervous system. "The ability to computationally redesign metal sites in proteins opens up a number of opportunities to use metal ions for performing new and useful reactions of human interest — for example, degrading chemical toxins and synthesizing new drug molecules," researcher Sagar Khare, a computational biologist at the University of Washington, told InnovationNewsDaily."
  • "The scientists first analyzed about 150 known zinc-containing enzymes. This research helped them identify 12 with shapes they could redesign for new reactions."
  • "One of the new enzymes, a redesigned mouse protein, broke apart an organophosphate similar to sarin about 10 million times more effectively than its original counterpart. "This was a proof-of-principle effort, and the designer enzyme was not developed against actual nerve agents," Khare said. "However, because the method is completely general, it should be possible to use it for developing antidotes and decontamination agents."
  • "One goal of improving computational design of new enzymes "is to have the capability to come up with degradation strategies for new chemical warfare agents that we have not seen yet: readily, efficiently and cheaply," Khare said. "The next steps are to develop catalysts for actual nerve-agent degradation, and extend these methods to the degradation of other environmental toxins."
  • Chemical, Decontamination

µµ Dodson, Don, "UI researchers develop effective, less costly way to remove contaminants", 18 March 2012,, [18] Last Checked 24 March 2012.

  • "Jim Langer and Weihua Zheng have come up with a relatively inexpensive — but effective — way to remove perchlorate from water."
  • "Perchlorate is a rocket-fuel component that has found its way into water sources, sometimes near air force bases. Exposure to it can affect the thyroid gland."
  • "But by using "clever chemistry," Langer and Zheng have been able to develop a filter material that can remove the contaminant from water. The filter can be used on a faucet or in a pitcher, and the researchers see commercial potential for it."
  • "Already, the company has received two Small Business Innovation Research grants — $150,000 from the National Science Foundation and $100,000 from the Department of Defense."
  • "The NSF grant will be used to commercialize the technology for removal of perchlorate and possibly other contaminants from water. The Defense Department grant will be used to develop ways of protecting facilities from chemical warfare — possibly by using the filter material in heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems."
  • "Langer, 32, of Urbana said the filter is made possible by composite materials known as "ion-exchange fiber composites." The technology involves coating tiny fibers with resin and activating the material by chemical or temperature means. In Serionix filters, ion exchange is used to convert perchlorate to chloride."
  • "Langer said Serionix is working with Champaign-based Serra Ventures to develop corporate strategies. He figures Serionix may work with corporate partners to manufacture materials for Serionix — or the firm may license the technology so interested companies can integrate it into their products."
  • Chemical, Public Health, Decontamination


Editors, "Military Seeks Decon Lotion for Chemical Warfare Agents", 14 February 2013, Global Biodefense, [19] Last Checked February 18, 2013.

  • "The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) – Troop Support is seeking information from sources capable of providing Skin Decontamination Lotion, intended to remove or neutralize chemical warfare agents HD, Soman (GD), VX and T-2 toxin from the skin."
  • "The Decontamination Lotion is required to be pre-packaged on a sponge applicator pad individually sealed in a polyethylene-lined aluminum foil pouch."
  • "The foil pouch must be easy for military personnel to open while wearing chemical warfare protective clothing and gloves."
  • "U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for application on unbroken skin of hands, face, neck, limbs, and torso. The manufacturer shall also provide a training lotion that imitates the properties of the decontamination lotion in all but active decontaminating ingredients."
  • "The government is will guarantee a minimum purchase of 252,000 packets per year."
  • Decontamination, Military, Chemical

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