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Methodology Investigation of Rapid Evaluation of Environmental Hazards: The Fate of VX and GB in the Dugway Proving Ground Environment

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Final rept. Jun 1981-Sep 1984

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VX persisted in DPG test area soil for less than 2 weeks at 20 deg C and a wind of 4 mph 6.4 kph. At 40 deg C VX persisted for 1 or 2 days. Temperature and wind were the two environmental factors that produced the greatest effect upon the decay of VX. VX decay in surface water was rapid at 40 deg C and moderately slow at 10 deg C. At 40 deg C VX disappeared in 1 or 2 days at 10 deg C the agent persisted for several months. Surface water in the test area temporary ponds can reach 20 - 30 deg C during the warmer months. Thus, any VX contamination would be of short duration. VX persisted in growing plants for approximately 3 weeks after topical contamination. It was taken up by plant roots and rapidly translocated to stems and leaves. VX also persisted in dead, dry vegetation for approximately 3 weeks at 10 deg C and 2 days at 40 deg C. GB was rapidly lost from soil and dry vegetation. GB persisted only 10-12 hours at 40 deg C with a gentle breeze 4 mph. At 10 deg C GB persisted for less than 4 days with a gentle breeze. Below 0 deg C, the agent will persist much longer several weeks. Environmental factors which had the greatest effect upon the disappearance of GB were windspeed and temperature. Moisture content and agent contamination level had lesser effects. The soil persistence of malathion was compared to the soil persistence of GB and VX. Although the nerve agents are approximately 10,000 times as toxic as malathion, after a relatively short time on soil the residual toxic hazard from malathion can be many times greater than that from GB or VX.

Subject Categories:

  • Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare
  • Water Pollution and Control
  • Pesticides Pollution and Control

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