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Comparison of selected skin decontaminant products and regimens against VX in domestic swine

S Bjarnason, J Mikler, I Hill, C Tenn, M Garrett, N Caddy, T W Sawyer
Human & Experimental Toxicology 2008, 27 (3): 253-61
An anesthetized domestic swine model was used to compare the efficacy and cross-contamination potential of selected skin decontaminant products and regimens against the chemical warfare agent, VX. Animals topically exposed to 2x, 3x or 5x LD(50) VX showed typical signs of organophosphate nerve agent poisoning, including miosis, salivation, mastication, dysrhythmias, and respiratory distress prior to death. Animals were exposed to 5x LD(50) VX and then decontaminated 45 min later with the reactive skin decontamination lotion (RSDL), Fuller's earth (FE), 0.5% hypochlorite, or soapy water. Survival was 100% when the reactive skin decontamination lotion or FE was utilized, although 50% of Fuller's earth-decontaminated animals exhibited serious signs of VX poisoning. Decontamination of VX-treated animals with 0.5% hypochlorite was less effective but also increased survival. Soapy water was ineffective in preventing lethality. Blood cholinesterase levels were not predictive of clinical outcome in decontaminated animals. The potential of "decontaminated" VX in open wounds to cause poisoning was assessed by vigorously mixing 5x LD(50) VX with the test decontaminants for 5 min and then placing the mixture onto a full-thickness skin wound. Soapy water was ineffective in preventing lethality. Although treatment with dry Fuller's earth prevented death and all signs of organophosphate poisoning, a significant proportion of treated animals decontaminated with Fuller's earth in aqueous suspension exhibited serious signs of organophosphate poisoning, suggesting that live agent may be desorbed from Fuller's earth when it is exposed to a liquid environment. Animals treated with reactive skin decontamination lotion or 0.5% hypochlorite-VX mixtures showed no signs of organophosphate poisoning during the 6- h test period.


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