Alumina gels could be used to protect first responders

An Atlanta-based company that produces special alumina and silica gels for disease control, environmental cleanup and industrial purification is launching its first textile products infused with activated alumina, which could be used to protect first responders in the event of a bioterror attack.

Dynamic Adsorbents Inc., will work with the Waco, Texas-based Hobbs Bonded Fibers to apply activated alumina to needle-punched substrates, according to a report.

Dr. Mark Moskovitz, Dynamic Adsorbents' president and chief technology officer, told that activated alumina is a natural adsorbent compound that can be used on a wide range of applications, including disease control and environmental cleanup. Unlike silica, alumina is crystalline and has different crystalline formations, he said.

"Each transformation state of the crystal has a different selectivity, far more selectivity than silica gel offers," Moskovitz told, noting that aluminas can be modified to fit specific applications.

Moskovitz said the company's Dyna-Mask, a face mask made with polyester, is comprised of several layers of the treated nonwoven fabrics, which provides an increased surface to kill offending pathogens. Moskovitz added that it is the only face mask that is CE-certified to kill the H1N1 virus and also kills such bacteria as anthrax and E. coli.

Most recently, Moskovitz told that DAI developed Dyna-Aqua Oil Sorb in response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This alumina-impregnated, highly absorbent cotton nonwoven fabric absorbs crude oil and adsorbs the dispersants that have sickened workers involved in the cleanup. According to DAI, the fabric can bind up to three gallons of oil per pound of treated cotton, a higher rate than any other method currently available.