Sandia-developed formulation among products selected to help rid U.S. facilities of anthrax

October 31, 2001

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Federal authorities are using a decontamination formulation developed at the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Sandia National Laboratories to help rid Capitol Hill buildings of anthrax this week.

Cleanup workers have taken quantities of the formulation with them into Congressional office buildings as one of the decontamination products selected to help remediate the Hart Senate Office Complex and the Dirkson and Ford Congressional Offices in Washington, D.C. They also are preparing to use the foam to decontaminate mailrooms on Capitol Hill contaminated with anthrax.

Two Sandia researchers are on site in Washington as technical advisors. Sandia licensed rights to commercialize the chem-bio formulation (often referred to as a Sandia licensed rights to commercialize the chem-bio formulation (often referred to as a decon foam) to two companies last year -- Modec, Inc. (Denver, Colo.) and EnviroFoam Technologies (Huntsville, Ala.) -- following a five-year research and development project at Sandia funded by the NNSA's Chemical and Biological National Security Program. (For more about the formulation's development, see

The formulation, a cocktail that includes ordinary household substances such as those found in hair conditioner and toothpaste, neutralizes both chemical and biological agents in minutes. It can be applied to a contaminated surface as a liquid spray, mist, fog, or foam.

Traditional decontaminating products typically are based on bleach, chlorinated solvents, or other hazardous or corrosive materials. Many are designed to work against only a limited number of either chemical or biological agents.

The Sandia formulation works against a wide variety of both chemical and biological agents and is non-toxic, non-corrosive, and environmentally friendly. In multiple independent lab tests and military field trials, the formulation was effective against viable anthrax spores and chemical warfare agents. In lab tests at Sandia it also destroyed simulants of anthrax, simulants of chemical agents, vegetative cells, toxins, and viruses.

"It has performed well against biological agents as well as the most worrisome chemical warfare agents," says co-developer Mark Tucker of Sandia. EnviroFoam Technologies (EFT) was contracted early this week to supply its version of the formulation to support the Environmental Protection Agency-led remediation effort on Capitol Hill. Over the weekend the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory tested EFT's EasyDECON™ AB (anthrax blend).

The test regimen, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), confirmed the effectiveness of EasyDECON against anthrax. (For more about the EasyDECON product, see EFT's web site at (For more about the MDF product, see Modec's web site at
Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia Media contact: John German,, 505-844-5199. Modec Media contact: Brian Kalamanka,, 800-967-7887. EnvirFoam Media contact: Peter Beucher,, 256-319-0137.

Related news releases:
License to Modec:
License to EnviroFoam:
Foam wins Discover Award:

DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

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