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Queen's develops safe 'green' decontamination method
Date:4/8/2008

KINGSTON, ON -- Research by two Queens scientists has resulted in an exciting new method for rapidly and safely destroying toxic agents such as chemical weapons and pesticides.

Recently completed testing by an independent European defence corporation has shown the researchers method to be greater than 99 per cent effective when used on the deadly nerve agents Tabun, Soman and VX.

When tested in solution, full destruction of all three agents was achieved in less than 30 seconds. Testing on contaminated surfaces showed virtually complete decontamination of the agents in 10 minutes the shortest of the time periods tested.

The technology is good news for organizations such as homeland security and emergency first-responders, says Davis Hill, Commercial Development Manager for PARTEQ Innovations, the technology transfer office of Queens. Both the speed and the benign nature of the method mean that facilities or equipment exposed to the contaminants could be cleared and ready for use almost immediately.

The method was developed by Drs. Stan Brown and Alexei Neverov, specialists in catalytic chemistry, who for several years have tested their approach using model compounds in their lab.

Our research results with model compounds demonstrated the method to be extremely effective, but the bigger question to us was, would it work on live agents" Dr. Brown says. These latest tests corroborate every result seen in our testing of this method over the past five years.

Phosphorus-based chemical weapons, pesticides and related compounds act as acetyl cholinesterase inhibitors, meaning they block nerve impulses, leading to paralysis, respiratory failure and eventually death.

The Queens scientists invented mild, non-corrosive alcohol-based methodologies that are remarkably effective in destroying these types of organophosphorus agent in seconds.

The reaction products of the tested method are non-toxic, mak
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Contact: Lorinda Peterson
lorinda.peterson@queensu.ca
613-533-3234
Queen's University
Source:Eurekalert

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