Thermally Induced Decontamination Environments
Current Environmental Decontamination technologies require chemical approaches or alternately require extremely high temperatures. Chemicals used tend to be hazardous and costly to the environment or the targeted area. Paraformaldehyde gas, glutaraldehyde, hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid also work, and need to be in contact with spores for at least as long. But these materials can be corrosive and are not appropriate for many areas. High temperatures of greater than 100 degrees C are often used which may also be hazardous to the targeted area for decontamination. Ultraviolet light could kill anthrax on the surface of items, but not inside envelopes or packages. High heat for long duration can also kill anthrax. These temperatures would burn mail. Ethylene oxide is an EPA restricted gas.
Researchers of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory have developed a technology to thermally induce a decontamination environment. The technology uses only heat and water, has no adverse affect on the environment and would be able to decontaminate containers of anthrax stored either liquid or dry. Once decontaminated the anthrax could be disposed of/buried without fear of damaging the environment. The decontamination kit could also be used again and again without a problem.
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