This invention was conceived in response to the events that occurred between October 2 and November 2, 2001 when letters containing a powdered form of B. anthracis were mailed through the United States Postal Service resulting in the contamination of government and private facilities (US EPA 2002). According to government specialists, the geographic scope of the incidents was increased by the cross-contamination of mail. In bringing affected buildings back into service, reaerosolization of these bioaerosols occurred due to particle dynamics and the airflow patterns in the buildings and in the building ventilation systems that required multiple decontamination efforts (NIOSH 2002). The developing terrorist threat of "dirty bombs" expanded the products’ focus to these hazardous particulates.
The invention is a new tool for Homeland Security and Department of Defense efforts to reduce or eliminate potential personal exposure to terrorist-related biological and "dirty bomb" weapon particulates. This will assist emergency responders and aid in protecting public health. This copolymer and solvent solution is used to bind with airborne hazardous particulates, such as biological weapon agents or toxic "dirty bomb" by-products. This solution can be delivered as an aerosol, spray, or coating to lock hazardous particulates in place and prevent reaerosolization of the contaminant.
This product was developed based on the chemical, physical, and biological properties of hazardous agents to ensure a binding of the agent within the copolymer film. The particulates are tightly bound within the water-based copolymer matrix to facilitate cleanup. This product can be used as part of a primary response for suspected biological weapon response from the workplace to the battlefield. It can also be applied to particulate isolation requirements relating to post-detonation "dirty bomb" contamination. This product can be deployed to reduce the spread of contaminants and protect our troops and emergency responders.
Responders to a suspect hazardous material in a populated area will be able to isolate and contain the material while it is fully evaluated. For explosive events, whether in the public arena or on the battlefield, returning quickly and efficiently back to full operations would be greatly aided with this product. Addressing the impetus for this invention, the decontamination and return to a normal mode of operations for affected areas can be achieved more quickly, safely, and in a cost-effective manner.
Product formulations were developed, and tested to adhere to toxic material based on their specific biological, chemical, and physical properties, therefore the potential for inhalation and ingestion, the human toxic intake routes, are greatly reduced or eliminated in a manner specific to the hazard.
Delivery parameters are developed to make the product safe to apply, store, and transport, therefore application, even in large areas, will require less PPE.
The product is water soluble and non-conductive. This allows for easy application with electronics unaffected. This allows results in easy and safe clean-up.
Multiple tests of the characteristics of the formula including adhesion strength, elasticity, density, drying-time, viscosity, pH, surface tension and the copolymer’s performance in wind tunnel tests indicate the product’s effectiveness against highly refined aerosolized Bacillus atrophaeus spores, a simulant for anthrax spores.
Krauter, P., Zalk, D., Hoffman, D.M., 2006 U.S. Patent 7,922,644.
Krauter, P., Zalk, D., Hoffman, D.M., 2009 U.S. Patent 8,216,965.