Army develops environmentally friendly decontaminants

United States military scientists have announced the development of a new set of ultra-strength cleaners that could aid in he aftermath of a terrorist attack.

The newly announced Decon Green suite of decontamination agents, which are non-toxic and based on ingredients commonly found in foods, cosmetics and other consumer products, are tough enough to clean nerve gas, mustard gas, radioactive isotopes and anthrax.

The non-toxic cleaner has a leg up over the traditional chlorine and lye-based decontamination agents, which are potentially hazardous and can react with chemical weapons and materials in the environment, forming new toxic substances.

Additionally, runoff from the traditional cleaners can harm people and the environment.

The Decon Green suite's main ingredients are peroxides, which are the same substances found in many household cleaners and whitening toothpastes. The peroxides are mixed with bicarbonates or other non-toxic based to bolster their effectiveness. Peroxyanions, which are highly reactive ions that can clean almost anything, including causing the break down of chemical weapons, are produced by the bicarbonate and peroxide mixture.

An exhaustive battery of tests was used on the Decon Green suite, which showed that the formulas can break down toxic chemicals rather than simply washing them away. Decon Green also proved to be effective at killing anthrax spores and removing radioactive cesium and cobalt from smooth surfaces. One formula of Decon Green can work in sub-zero temperatures.