Showering effectiveness for human hair decontamination of the nerve agent VX

Denis Josse, Julien Wartelle, Catherine Cruz
Chemico-biological Interactions 2015 May 5, 232: 94-100
In this work, our goals were to establish whether hair decontamination by showering one hour post-exposure to the highly toxic organophosphate nerve agent VX was effective, whether it required the addition of a detergent to water and, if it could be improved by using the adsorbent Fuller's Earth (FE) or the Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion (RSDL) 30 min prior to showering. Hair exposure to VX and decontamination was performed by using an in vitro model. Hair showering led to 72% reduction of contamination. Addition of detergent to water slightly increased the decontamination effectiveness. Hair treatment with FE or RSDL improved the decontamination rate. Combination of FE use and showering, which yielded a decontamination factor of 41, was demonstrated to be the most effective hair decontamination procedure. Hair wiping after showering was shown to contribute to hair decontamination. Altogether, our results highlighted the importance of considering hair decontamination as an important part of body surface decontamination protocols.

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