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National lab works on a personal decontamination kit for civilians

 

Narrator:            This is Science Today.  A low-cost, personal decontamination kit for almost any toxic or hazardous chemical is being developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. William Smith, a process development engineer at the lab, says the kit is similar to what's currently used by U.S. troops.

Smith:                        The first thing you do for the kit is you grab the pad, pull it out of the package and you wipe whatever liquid you have off of your skin. And so that absorbs it. If you notice that when military troops go out in their chemical gear, they got clothing that covers their whole body. They have a mask that covers their head and if you think of a typical civilian on a summer day, they may be in a T-shirt and shorts and so they have a lot more exposed skin. So, another problem with this in terms of civilian use, was the old military kit didn't have enough capacity. But if you wipe first with this absorbent pad and you can removed the liquid and so then you get the residual and then you've tripled or quadrupled the capacity of the kit.

Narrator:            The researchers are still testing the personal decontamination system's usability and efficacy. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.