Many organophosphorus (OP) compounds, such as pesticides and chemical weapons, (sarin, VX and soman) are potent cholinesterase inhibitors. Building upon the extensive base of scientific knowledge acquired over the past decade on enzymes capable of decontaminating OPs, RSL has commercialized WMDtox™, its fully functional coating and overcoat containing the novel enzyme additive OPDtox™for use on military equipment, supplies and for decon of chemical weapon stockpiles. The current technology for OP decontamination involves the application of caustic solutions, foams, intensive heat, and carbon dioxide for sustained periods. The biocatalytic coatings described here bring a new technology to bear on this problem, offering an opportunity for OP decontamination without the environmental impact. The OPDtox additive remains stable and active in coatings, to create catalytically self-decontaminating surfaces.
WMDtox (or the additive OPDtox alone) can serve either as a stand-alone decontamination method or as a complementary approach to existing decontamination techniques and products. When added to coatings, RSL additives create a reactive surface that will initiate the process of decontamination upon exposure to organophosphorus neurotoxins and pesticides. Applied in advance of exposure, surfaces painted with WMDtox can continue to catalytically degrade organophosphorus compounds after repeated exposures and remain active following washing. Both chemical warfare agent and surrogate tests have been successfully conducted on metal and wood surfaces painted with commercially available paints containing OPDtox additives. The OPDtox additive has been tested for stability, and remains active for years when stored as a dry powder at room temperature, and similarly, the WMDtox coating remains active for sustained periods of time.
While there are a large number of potential military applications for self-decontaminating surfaces, RSL’s technology has numerous non-military commercial applications as well, including geo- and agrotextiles, surfaces in hospital clean rooms, community safe rooms, schools, government facilities, industrial sites, mobile decontamination facilities, and public transportation systems.