Updates on products for CBRN emergency decontamination of victims
Emergency decontamination and treatment are of utmost importance for victims potentially
contaminated by CBRN agents. They should be implemented as soon as possible following victims’
exposure and extraction from the hot zone.
This concept is well established for military who can be equipped with self-treatment and individual
The main objective of emergency decontamination is to improve vital and functional prognosis of
treated victims. It is also aimed at reducing the risk of transfer of contamination before thorough
decontamination is performed.
Ideally, procedures and means of emergency decontamination should be rapid and simple to
implement. They should also be non-deleterious, polyvalent and effective. Their effectiveness relies
on their ability to remove and neutralize hazardous agents present on the body surface.
Emergency decontamination consists in decontaminating the exposed body surface and removing
the external layer of clothes.
Current means of emergency decontamination are firstly any potentially absorbent or adsorbent, or
dispositive able to solubilize CBRN agents, e.g. absorbent paper or cloth, adsorbent powder such as
Fuller’s earth, decontamination lotion and sponge of the RSDL kit. These means are mainly
recommended for skin and hair decontamination of oily hazardous liquids such as vesicant and nerve
They can also be water sprinklers that are recommended for removing hydrophilic corrosive or
irritating agents, and neutralizing solutions such as DTPA or hypochlorites.
Limitations of currently available dispositive are their relatively narrow spectrum of effectiveness, or
can also be of logistical or economical order.
To reduce these limitations, new emergency decontamination kits are developed, e.g. absorbent and
neutralizing glove for B and C agents, calixarene-based cream to neutralize actinides, gel to neutralize
toxic chemicals in the skin reservoir.