An Assessment of Decontamination Strategies for Materials Commonly Used in Canine Equipment

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Perry EB, Powell EB, Discepolo DR, Francis JM, Liang SY 20(2). 127 - 131 (Journal Article)

Working canines are frequently exposed to hazardous environments with a high potential for contamination. Environmental contamination may occur in many ways. Contamination may be chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear. Examples may include a pipeline rupture following an earthquake, microbiological contamination of floodwaters, or exposure to toxic industrial chemical such as hydrogen chloride, ammonia, or toluene. Evidence to support effective methods for decontamination of equipment commonly used by working canines is lacking. Recent work has identified decontamination protocols for working canines, but little data are available to guide the decontamination of equipment used during tactical operations. The objective of our work was to investigate the effects of cleanser, cleaning method, and material type on contaminant reduction for tactical canine equipment materials using an oil-based contaminant as a surrogate for toxic industrial chemical exposure. A contaminant was applied, and effectiveness was represented as either success (≥ 50% contaminant reduction) or failure (< 50% contaminant reduction). A two-phase study was used to investigate cleanser, method of cleaning, and material types for effective contaminant reduction. In phase 1, Simple Green® cleanser had a higher frequency (P = .0075) of failure, but method and material did not affect contamination reduction (P > .05). In phase 2, Dawn® (P = .0004) and Johnson's® (P = .0414) successfully reduced contamination. High-pressure cleaning (HPC) resulted in successful decontamination (P < .0001). These novel data demonstrate potential techniques for reduction of contaminants on tactical canine equipment.

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