Studies on residue-free decontaminants for chemical warfare agents

George W Wagner
Environmental Science & Technology 2015 March 17, 49 (6): 3755-60
Residue-free decontaminants based on hydrogen peroxide, which decomposes to water and oxygen in the environment, are examined as decontaminants for chemical warfare agents (CWA). For the apparent special case of CWA on concrete, H2O2 alone, without any additives, effectively decontaminates S-2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl O-ethyl methylphosphonothioate (VX), pinacolyl methylphosphorofluoridate (GD), and bis(2-choroethyl) sulfide (HD) in a process thought to involve H2O2 activation by surface-bound carbonates/bicarbonates (known H2O2 activators for CWA decontamination). A plethora of products are formed during the H2O2 decontamination of HD on concrete, and these are characterized by comparison to synthesized authentic compounds. As a potential residue-free decontaminant for surfaces other than concrete (or those lacking adsorbed carbonate/bicarbonate) H2O2 activation for CWA decontamination is feasible using residue-free NH3 and CO2 as demonstrated by reaction studies for VX, GD, and HD in homogeneous solution. Although H2O2/NH3/CO2 ("HPAC") decontaminants are active for CWA decontamination in solution, they require testing on actual surfaces of interest to assess their true efficacy for surface decontamination.

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