In an increasingly asymmetric battlefield where the fight is often brought close to home, or deep inside “green zones” one should be prepared. Chemical warfare agents have been used as recently as in the Syrian Civil war. The terrible thing that many people don’t realize about chemical warfare agents is that depending on the agent, they don’t have to be inhaled, simple skin contact for many chemical warfare agents is enough. VX is a highly potent nerve agent that acts via inhalation or absorption through the skin. Early symptoms manifest themselves as sweating, and muscle twitching at the area of exposure. Treating for VX and many other chemical warfare agents includes removing oneself from exposure and decontaminating the skin. For members of the US Military the go-to for decontamination has been the M291 kit. But recent advances have given us a decontamination wipe that is massively more effective.
The Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion Kit (RSDL) removes or neutralizes chemical warfare agents within 2 minutes. It is approved or cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, and the Australian Therapeutics Goods Administration. This isn’t a product that over promises and under delivers with a cheap product. Rather it is a proven system trusted by multiple real world users such as the US DOD, Canadian Department of National Defense and is currently deployed in 35 countries. The following Chemical Warfare Agents can be neutralized by the RSDL kit within 2 minutes:
- Chemical Warfare Agents: Tabun, Sarin, Soman, Cyclohexyl sarin, VR, VX, mustard gas, and T-2 Toxin.
- Organophosphate-based toxic chemicals: Malathion, Parathion, Paraoxon, Paraoxon-methyl, Malaoxon.
A note should be made that with the above mentioned substances, soap and water alone do not neutralize Chemical Warfare Agents. In some cases it could worsen the condition and the contaminated runoff could affect others. A decontamination wipe is absolutely necessary. For those of you familiar with the M291 decontamination kit, it might surprise you to learn that the RSDL has a greater protective ratio than the M291 by several magnitudes. The RSDL is 5 times more protective versus GD (soman), 36 times more protective versus VX (nerve agent) and 87 times more protective versus VR (Russian VX). The applicator sponge on the RSDL removes or neutralizes in one step. Which is a huge improvement over most any other kit out there as of this writing. The RSDL kit is very simple and effective to use. Simply:
- Identify possible contamination
- Open packet quickly at notch
- Wipe affected area using a scrubbing motion
- Rinse when time permits
Once the area has been wiped the Chemical Warfare Agents are removed and a nontoxic residue is left, of which, no adverse events have been reported. The kit is simple compact and lightweight and fits nicely in a side plate pouch or tucked somewhere easy to get to (dip pocket on Crye combat pants). It has a 5-year shelf life from the date of manufacture and training kits are available. This kit is absolutely necessary for those serving or concerned. Law Enforcement, Military, Contractors and civilians who like to be prepared take note.
Those who wish us dead care less and less about collateral damage and sometimes even make attacks aimed at increasing it. Chemical warfare is something many are underprepared for as they are not sure what precautions can be taken. Emergent BioSolutions is bringing a simple, easy to use and compact product to the market that can possibly spell the difference between life or death in a situation where you need it. How likely are you to be in a chemical warfare attack? Depends on your job, but when it comes to the RSDL kit I’d say it’s better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it. I’ll be doing a video in the following weeks on using the training kit version.