Hand-Held Photoionization Instruments for Quantitative Detection of Sarin Vapor and for Rapid Qualitative Screening of Contaminated Objects

  1. Smith, P.A.
  2. Jackson Lepage, C.R.
  3. Harrer, K.L.
  4. Brochu, P.J.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN);Naval Medical Center, San Diego CA (USA);Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda Maryland (USA);US Marine Corps, Indian Head (USA) Chemical Biological Incident Response Force
A serious health care event was precipitated in 1995 with the release of O-isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate (sarin) in the Tokyo subway system by a terrorist group. Ten deaths occurred, and more than five thousand individuals sought medical care as a result. A previous terrorist release of sarin in Matsumoto, Japan killed seven. In the Tokyo incident, documented secondary exposures resulted from contact with patients having apparent liquid sarin contamination. Indeed, 13 out of 15 doctors treating patients in the emergency department of the Keio University School of Medicine demonstrated symptoms of organophosphorous nerve agent poisoning. The safety of emergency department staff treating contaminated patients would be served by a small, simple, and fast detection instrument to point out areas of patient or clothing contamination. Because it is the standard chemical warfare agent detection tool in the United States and many allied military organizations, the "improved chemical agent monitor" (ICAM) hand-held ion mobility spectrometer is widely available for use in two types of chemical warfare agent response operations where military organizations are involved: (1) for surveys in the immediately contaminated area (hot zone) to detect the presence of nerve and blister agents, and (2) at the end of a decontamination line to determine the effectiveness of decontamination efforts.
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-SL-2006-229 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Oct 2007
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, no 4, 2007, p 729-738
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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