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Military Develops "Green" Cleaners For Terrorist Attack Sites 97

Posted by samzenpus
from the ultra-concentrated dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Chemists with the US military have developed a set of ultra-strength cleaners to be used in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. The formulas are reportedly tough enough to get rid of nerve gas, mustard gas, radioactive isotopes, and anthrax. But they are also non-toxic, based on ingredients found in foods, cosmetics, and other consumer products."

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Military Develops "Green" Cleaners For Terrorist Attack Sites

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  • Let me guess..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigjoeb (580413) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:14AM (#32443588)
    Made by Bechtel/(insert cozy contractor here) for only 2600$ a pint
    • IG Farben [wikipedia.org] perhaps...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by slick7 (1703596)
        Try, Du pont, Monsanto.
        Bechtel is more into infrastructure like roads and oil refineries. This seems more like a job for Halliburton.
    • by fractoid (1076465) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:19AM (#32443628) Homepage
      It wouldn't even need to be that much. You know what's really good at cleaning up toxic chemicals? Lungs. I bet you could use cow lungs from abattoirs. Mmmm, lung juice cocktail, even increases stamina!
      • Dammit, I'm torn between taking the comment as a joke and taking it seriously. Do slaughterhouses even use the spare lungs, and why wouldn't that be the perfect filtering method for things that go through lungs? Damn your humorous yet plausible post!
        • by Jaysyn (203771)

          Pretty sure they go into beef hotdogs & bologna. Perhaps dog food as well?

        • Purified Lung Extract (PLE) is an ingredient in Prothrombin (http://ajplegacy.physiology.org/cgi/pdf_extract/179/1/149) which assists haemostasis (clotting). Whether it, itself is a purifying agent, I cannot say. But bovine lungs do have their uses outside the feeding of cats and dogs :)

    • The probably are just repackaging oxyclean and marking up the price.
    • by happy_place (632005) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:45AM (#32443896) Homepage
      ...as opposed to the price of just letting those toxic substances drift through a community, causing untold amount of additional disease and misery... its refreshing to read of military technology that cleans up destruction, rather than just causing it. I hope that someday a perfect defense isn't just a really good offense, but an ingenious defense.
      • by Em Emalb (452530)

        It's more fun to complain rather than give kudos.

        Heh, I typed judos at first instead of kudos. That would have worked too, I guess.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by couchslug (175151)

        North Korea has massive chem warfare capability, so the "community" the chemical agents could be drifting through is South Korea. Chems aren't great in small doses, but slather a few urban targets and widespread panic would ensure (even more than from the accompanying artillery bombardment). Since the POTUS has committed to No First Use of nukes, the NKs could use chems in the safe knowledge that we banned chems and won't use any other WMD to stop them.

        http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/cw.htm [globalsecurity.org]

        Mark

        • by Jaysyn (203771)

          North Korea has massive chem warfare capability.

          ... once. After which they'd be the worlds largest crater.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Yup. Why use tactical nukes when MOABs & Daisy-cutters work just as well with no fallout or international outrage.

          • by couchslug (175151)

            "... once. After which they'd be the worlds largest crater."

            Not anymore! The sweet days of aircraft on Zulu Alert ready with Silver Bullets are long gone, and one Change We Can Believe In is "No First Use".

            • by Jaysyn (203771) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `todhsals+nysyaj'> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:54AM (#32445636) Homepage Journal

              "No First Use" = We have enough conventional weaponry to send anyone back to the stone age if we no longer care about the international repercussions.

              AKA "I can beat you with one arm tied behind my back."

              • "No First Use" = We have enough conventional weaponry to send anyone back to the stone age [...]

                Especially when you consider North Korea, which isn't all that far advanced beyond the stone age to begin with--at least not once you look past their military capabilities, anyhow.

              • by couchslug (175151)

                "We have enough conventional weaponry to send anyone back to the stone age if we no longer care about the international repercussions."
                That isn't strictly true either. We have lots of weaponry that, given ample time to employ it, could make Nork life difficult, but there are still plenty of targets it can't reach. The Taliban caves in Afghanistan didn't have AAA and SAMs protecting them, and we still didn't blow them all from the air. Tech is seductive. (Don't feel bad, it seduced Rumsfeld into going into I

        • by RichiH (749257)

          > Since the POTUS has committed to No First Use of nukes, the NKs could use chems in the safe knowledge that we banned chems and won't use any other WMD to stop them.

          That's a real pity, because clearly the right response to a chemical attack is a nuclear holocaust.

          • p>That's a real pity, because clearly the right response to a chemical attack is a nuclear holocaust.

            I'm curious, is this is more tongue in cheek or actually serious?

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Let this be an example to all those anti-military types: don't let it be said that the US military (and by proxy, US gov't) never does anything good. It's arguable whether actual 'military' actions help anyone to some, but this is pretty indisputable. (Arguing "but they cause so much harm and this doesn't make full amends is a disingenious, intellectually dishonest argument.)

        (It's OK; you're free to ignore all the medical and material advances which have helped not only save civilian lives, but have been us

      • by AP31R0N (723649)

        The US military/gov't also spends a great deal of effort and money in trying to minimize destruction. As trendy as it is to hate the military and gov't, this is true. We are working very hard to make warfare less destructive.

  • Cosmetics? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RivenAleem (1590553)

    Because we can totally trust what they put in them?

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Because we can totally trust what they put in them?

      I'm sure that they'll contract it to a trusted supplier [rense.com].

    • by garcia (6573)

      You're worried about cosmetics? Not everyone uses those. You should be more worried about what toxic ingredients are in your food items.

      • I've decided to enshew food. I plan to install a cleft in my palette that secretes nectar from the gods that will give me all the nourishment I need.

    • by operagost (62405)
      We used to, when they were allowed to test on animals. There is no free lunch.
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:18AM (#32443616)
    They tested it on CowboyNeal's underpants.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And then decided to try it on nerve gas, mustard gas, radioactive isotopes, and anthrax instead?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:22AM (#32443654)

    The formulas are reportedly tough enough to get rid of nerve gas, mustard gas, radioactive isotopes, and anthrax.

    Summary makes it sound like this wonder neutralizes the components instead simply physically removing them. Are radioactive isotopes harder to remove than your generic chocolate stain?

    • by orzetto (545509) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:35AM (#32443810)

      Are radioactive isotopes harder to remove than your generic chocolate stain?

      Considering most radioactive isotopes are heavy metals with a relatively "fuzzy" chemistry, which can easily become soft acids [wikipedia.org], yes, it's tougher than chocolate, as any student who attended an inorganic-chemistry course could confirm you. Ever tried removing stains of Mercurochrome?

  • Oil Spills (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ehaggis (879721) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:24AM (#32443680) Homepage Journal
    Does it work on oil spills or only terrorist induced disasters?
  • Looking for chemical agents that could defeat the biological and chemical weapons that might be used by the terrorists?

    No surprise they decided to use stuff found in fast-food and cosmetics. I just don't know what the 'green' reference is about?

    • Well basically, because nerve agents are reactive (reactive enough to react with your nerves) they're also reasonably chemically unstable. If you left some mustard gas out for a few weeks it would all break down, but we don't usually have that long. Harsh chemicals like mineral acids or strong alkali (lye) are the gold standard for decontamination. The radioactive materials reference is likely things like dirty bomb fallout on walls, roofs. If the radioactive isotopes can be dissolved in water and washed aw

  • If the chemical that's most effective at removing nuclear fallout is a little toxic, I'm going to be okay with that.
  • The government needs to make sure they can clean up the situation promptly. Eminent domain works out very nicely when there isn't anyone there to challenge it.

  • Good idea. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by couchslug (175151) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:34AM (#32443804)

    NBC decontamination training is standard in the military, and nearly everyone gets to play. Alternate decon solutions that aren't themselves composed of nasty chemicals would be quite useful considering tens of thousands of gallons would be needed for even a small site. The product would need to kill germs and remove chemical agents while helping break them down (they degrade anyway). Other than washing off radioactive contamination there isn't much to be done, but that still would require effective detergent to break loose ground-in crud.

    Have some Very Cool Soviet Decon vehicle:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBI43LKuW00 [youtube.com]

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      One of the things I hated about working the flight-line was getting tagged to go wash an aircraft. We used some sort of orange-oil based solvent / soap that was friendly to the environment but decidedly unfriendly to bare skin. So we'd get suited up in rain gear, boots, rubber gloves... duct tape to seal intersections between gear.... and a face shield. You did not want that stuff on you. With a high pressure hot water hose and a foam cannon operating in a closed hanger, you got a nice mixture of heat,

      • by couchslug (175151)

        I miss the old days when all you needed was goggles because it was assumed you'd get drenched anyway (and it was easy to wash off with straight water).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am always reminded of that fine BBC documentary* about the, for lack of better words, ZOMG TERRORISTS scare that takes it's sweet time to dissipate. Probably because there is too much money to be made. Such as selling this kind of junk.

    * Available on Google video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2798679275960015727

  • Why is this Idle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:45AM (#32443894)
    I know some editors class too many things that should be Idle as something else, but this seems to be the opposite; a legitimate article that is being filed as Idle. How exactly is this not considered news? It's a new application for existing chemicals that helps deal with terrorism without restricting rights, which is a hell of lot better than most of the anti-terrorism procedures we've been putting into place.
    • This is Idle because it's bullshit.

      This isn't news. There was no journalism involved here. No reporter investigating the accuracy of the ad copy. And yes, it's an advert. It was written by the military, sent whole-cloth to the journal, which cut out the guts and published the fanfare.

      This is propaganda.

      That's why it's idle. Thank-goodness the editors aren't dweebs. They recognize that this kind of thing, while interesting, is also insultingly stupid.

      -FL

      • If that's the case, it shouldn't be published at all. Idle isn't a "dump advertising here" section, it's for quirky and offbeat stuff. Basically, if it would be linked on Fark, it's Idle material.
  • Decon Green (Score:2, Funny)

    by MrTripps (1306469)
    Its made of people!
  • Sounds like an Ad for CLR to me...?
  • Ok, so the primary ingredients are peroxide and sodium bicarbonate. Fine.

    Am I the only one thinking I almost don't care how bad it is, as long as the end result is I'm alive?

  • Use this to finally clean your parent's basement.

  • ...for the Japanese Miracle.
  • Can I get this in a spray bottle for cleaning my kitchen and bathroom?

  • That may be helpful for BP then ...
  • I thought plain vanilla bleach took care of all biological and most chemical agents just fine? And as far as radioactive isotopes go, use whatever would remove the non-radioactive isotope of the element in question.
  • Vinegar. EOL

  • they call it Coca col.. I mean.. coca cleaner and it costs lots.

  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:44PM (#32447694)
    ... Harvey Keitel [imdb.com] for those real problem messes.
  • but is it strong enough for getting rid of all the oil spilled into the gulf of mexico???

  • Decon Green has been around since 2003. It's just hydrogen peroxide, soap, propylene glycol and baking soda. It's for decontaminating surfaces, like equipment, suits, etc.
  • As I was told by an EPA inspector, once your Green/non-toxic/bio-degradable product comes in contact with the "toxic" contaminant, it TOO becomes a toxic contaminant and must be disposed of with the proper protocols. Even a neutralizing agent would need to be tested - what does the combination become - an inert mass or does it turn into some hybrid toxin we are currently unaware of - like the chocolate bar in the peanut butter....

  • But they are also non-toxic, based on ingredients found in foods, cosmetics, and other consumer products.

    If it's killing Anthrax just how non-toxic can it be, hmm? From the original All-Weather Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Decontamination of CBRN Contaminants [acs.org] paper:

    A hydrogen peroxide-based decontaminant, Decon Green, is efficacious for the decontamination of chemical agents VX (S-2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl O-ethyl methylphosphonothioate), GD (Soman, pinacolyl methylphosphonofluoridate), and HD (mustard, bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide); the biological agent anthrax (Bacillus anthracis); and radiological isotopes 137Cs and 60Co; thus demonstrating the ability of this decontamination approach to ameliorate the aftermath of all three types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). ... Decon Green is an EPA-registered sporicide.

    Hydrogen peroxide is considered hazardous because of its highly reactive oxidation ability. It varies around the world a little, but generally in concentrations over 3% it should be accompanied by a Material Safety Data Sheet. In the presence of grease it can even become explosive.

    To put its oxidation ability into context... Germany was using hydrogen pe

    • by couchslug (175151)

      You can also gargle with dilute hydrogen peroxide. I didn't dissolve like the unfortunate ME-163 pilot, and my wisdom tooth sockets healed nicely.

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