Decontamination Wipes for First Responders

EPA Contract Number: EPD08031
Title: Decontamination Wipes for First Responders
Investigators: Kaiser, Robert
Small Business: Entropic Systems Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2008 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Homeland Security


The threat of chemical or biological (CB) attack is real, and there is a recognized need for improved technologies to better respond to these situations. During a CB emergency, first responder units are critical for handling the emergency, and then restoring the environment where it occurred. After a threat has been contained, the first responders, donned in protective gear, must decontaminate themselves along with their equipment. The decontamination products currently commercially available do not provide first responders with a simple and practical means of doing so.

Entropic Systems, Inc. (ESI), with the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Command (ECBC) has been developing a decontamination wipe for the immediate decontamination of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) from sensitive military equipment. The result of this work is an absorptive/adsorptive decontamination wipe that effectively removes greater than 90 percent of CWAs from a variety of sensitive equipment items in one pass, retains the agent within the pores of the wipe, and does not damage the wiped surface or leave behind any residues. It exhibits great flexibility and can decontaminate complex items. This wipe decontamination system is easy to use, highly transportable, and requires no capital equipment investment, little or no training, and no additional resources to be effective.

To be of utility to first responders, these wipes must be able to achieve significantly higher decontamination levels than those required by hasty decontamination. ESI has demonstrated that wiping a substrate multiple times with fresh wipes significantly increases the decontamination efficacy for the removal of a V-agent simulant from stainless steel to the detection limit (99.97%) of the gas chromatograph (GC) with a flame ionization detector (FID) used to measure residue levels.

In the proposed Phase I program, ESI plans to:

  • Demonstrate that wiping with absorptive/adsorptive wipes will effectively decontaminate liquid simulants to below the instrument detection limits (IDLs) airborne exposure levels of the corresponding CWA, from coupons of substrates that are commonly found on first responder equipment.
  • Perform residue analysis with a GC equipped with a flame photometry detector (FPD).
  • Perform wiping test on representative first responder equipment to demonstrate that wiping can effectively decontaminate objects with complex geometries.
  • Demonstrate low off-gassing of used wipes.
  • Demonstrate potential of spray and wipe process for spore removal.
  • Optimize wipe design and wiping procedures.

Successful completion of the program will result in a simple and practical decontamination technology for first responders, and other handlers of hazardous materials.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, homeland security, chemical attack, biological attack, first responder, decontamination, decontamination products, decontamination wipes, chemical warfare agents, CWAs, equipment, V-agent stimulant, gas chromatograph, GC, flame ionization detector, FID, residue levels, absorptive wipes, adsorptive wipes, liquid stimulants, instrument detection limits, IDLs, airborne exposure levels, substrate coupon, flame photometry detector, FPD, off-gassing, spore removal, spray and wipe process, wipe design, wiping procedures, hazardous materials,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Monitoring, decontamination, homeland security, bioterrorism, biowarfare defense, chemical decontamination, biotechnology

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report