Thank God there were no chemical weapons used in Iraq. Because the U.S. Army is still using toxic, 40 year-old agents to decontaminate soldiers and their gear, National Defense reports.
Decontamination agents in use today, such as high test hypochlorite (HTH), super tropical bleach (STB) and decontamination solution 2 (DS-2)... can damage equipment, pollute the environment and cause personal injury, according to experts. Many of them also are flammable and, therefore, cant be used on ships, new high-performance aircraft and non-hardened equipment.The Pentagon has proposed $52 million for decontaminant research in 2004. One of the ideas being examined: a group of enzymes that could wipe out both chemical weapons, like nerve agents, and biological threats, like anthrax spores. According to a paper published by the Armys Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, "catalytic enzymes are highly efficient, detoxifying many times their own weight of agent in seconds or minutes."The enzymes are, suppsedly, non-corrosive, non-flammable and environmentally safe, too. According to National Defense, the enzymes would come as a dried powder, to be added to a water-based spray or foam system.