Scarf-like mask can protect at a moment’s notice

Army researchers have developed a simple, comfortable wrap styled respiratory protective mask for protection against riot control agents. (U.S. Army photo)

ECBC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 20, 2015) — Army researchers have developed a simple, comfortable wrap-style respiratory protective mask for protection against riot control agents. The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, known as ECBC, is making it as a simple as putting on a surgical mask.

ECBC researchers Dave Caretti, Dan Barker, and Doug Wilke, developed the idea for the solution from specialized operators who expressed a need for a protective mask to protect against riot control agents such as 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, also known as CS, or tear gas.

The operators also wanted a mask that could protect users who have beards, or must operate with other unique head-borne equipment.

Currently, users wear a traditional full general protective mask when disseminating riot agent. This mask is a hard material and the user must remove any existing equipment on their face in order to put it on. This process can take time that operators might not have during emergency situations.

“The solution we envisioned would easily integrate with the user’s helmet, communications headphones and protective eyewear, so that it could provide a simple solution for all users,” Caretti said.

Members of law enforcement who use CS and other riot control agents could also use this type of mask when necessary and avoid wasting time with a traditional full face piece respirator that requires the removal of protective helmets and other head-borne items.

In order to begin work on this proposed solution, Caretti, Barker and Wilke entered their proposal for the mask they called the “Integrated Respiratory and Eye Protective Scarf,” or IREPS to to the research center’s Internal Innovative Development of Employee Advanced Solutions Program. Continue reading

Army scientists work to destroy chemical weapons

From left to right: Jeff Gonce - Chief, Field Maintenance Branch, Anna Kirby - Chemical Engineering Technician, Frank Reinsfelder - Chemical Engineering Technician, Ann Brozena - Research Chemist, Elan Kazam - Mechanical Engineer, Jeff Mott - Chemical Engineering Technician.

From left to right: Jeff Gonce – Chief, Field Maintenance Branch, Anna Kirby – Chemical Engineering Technician, Frank Reinsfelder – Chemical Engineering Technician, Ann Brozena – Research Chemist, Elan Kazam – Mechanical Engineer, Jeff Mott – Chemical Engineering Technician.

ECBC Communications

An Inflection Point in History

Bodies wrapped in white shrouds line the floor of an unknown location in Syria. Shirtless men convulsing and foaming at the mouth have eyes that are open yet unresponsive. A five-year-old boy lay limp in the arms of an older man. It is unclear whether the child is still breathing. The bodies of other children dressed in brightly colored clothing lay lifeless on a white-tiled floor. These were some of the startling images and videos that surfaced in the wake of a chemical weapons attack in Syria on Aug. 21, 2013, killing more than 1,400 people. The event marked an inflection point in global history.

The tremor of this significant tragedy was felt around the world, changing the geopolitical terrain and challenging the connectedness of international relationships. The international community responded with a momentous decision to directly address the chemical weapons attack and the United States offered to work with others like the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations to eliminate the threat from occurring again.

ECBC Innovates in a New Era of Chem-Bio Defense

With an Army known for traditional “boots on the ground” defense, the Department of Defense pivoted its strategy to include a more agile, flexible approach to solve a pressing problem. It called on the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and other organizations located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., for inter-disciplinary teamwork that could solve the right problem through corrective framing: a new chemical weapons disposal capability.

“There was a recognition that something was going to happen in Syria, in all likelihood that would require us to do something with those chemical materials that were known to be there,” said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics during a DoD media event on Jan. 2.

ECBC has specialized expertise in chemical demilitarization and field operations. It’s Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction Business Unit is comprised of 200 highly trained and experienced scientists, technicians and operators that have been safely conducting chemical demilitarization missions for decades in an environmentally responsible manner, including the successful destruction of chemical agent stockpiles at U.S. site locations and countries around the world.

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Army chemical lab earns top grade in proficiency test

ECBC's Forensic Analytical Center was the first U.S. laboratory to become a designated OPCW laboratory. They were given that status by the Director General of the OPCW in 1996. Although testing takes place on an annual basis, the total process takes place in a three-year timeframe. In order to maintain OPCW accreditation, laboratories must maintain a three-year rolling average of at least two

ECBC’s Forensic Analytical Center was the first U.S. laboratory to become a designated OPCW laboratory. They were given that status by the Director General of the OPCW in 1996. Although testing takes place on an annual basis, the total process takes place in a three-year timeframe. In order to maintain OPCW accreditation, laboratories must maintain a three-year rolling average of at least two “As” and one “B.”

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 9, 2013) — The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Forensic Analytical Center continues to be a pioneer in the area of forensic analysis for monitoring the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as analysis of samples associated with possible terrorist attacks or breaches of security.

The Treaty Laboratory at ECBC received an “A” grade in the latest international proficiency test (33rd OPCW IPT). Of the 12 labs worldwide that participated in the test, only two received an “A,” and two laboratories received a “B,” the minimum grade required for a laboratory to maintain their status as a designated laboratory.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an independent organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands, administers the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.

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ECBC invents sorbent for chemical decontamination

George Wagner, Ph.D., research chemist credited with discovering the sorbent technology.

George Wagner, Ph.D., research chemist credited with discovering the sorbent technology.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. ― Scientists here have invented a way to absorb liquids and gases that threaten the American warfighter.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center has announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded a patent for the invention of a sorbent technology designed to improve efforts to decontaminate highly toxic materials.

This is the sixth patent issued to ECBC this fiscal year.

The new sorbent — a material used to absorb liquids or gases — accelerates the decontamination of substances such as chemical warfare agents, industrial chemicals, insecticides and VX, one of the most toxic and well-known nerve agents.

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