Chemical warfare agent simulants for human volunteer trials of emergency decontamination: A systematic review

Thomas James*, Stacey Wyke, Timothy Marczylo, Samuel Collins, Tom Gaulton, Kerry Foxall, Richard Amlot, Raquel Duarte-Davidson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Incidents involving the release of chemical agents can pose significant risks to public health. In such an event, emergency decontamination of affected casualties may need to be undertaken to reduce injury and possible loss of life. To ensure these methods are effective, human volunteer trials (HVTs) of decontamination protocols, using simulant contaminants, have been conducted. Simulants must be used to mimic the physicochemical properties of more harmful chemicals, while remaining non-toxic at the dose applied. This review focuses on studies that employed chemical warfare agent simulants in decontamination contexts, to identify those simulants most suitable for use in HVTs of emergency decontamination. Twenty-two simulants were identified, of which 17 were determined unsuitable for use in HVTs. The remaining simulants (n = 5) were further scrutinized for potential suitability according to toxicity, physicochemical properties and similarities to their equivalent toxic counterparts. Three suitable simulants, for use in HVTs were identified; methyl salicylate (simulant for sulphur mustard), diethyl malonate (simulant for soman) and malathion (simulant for VX or toxic industrial chemicals). All have been safely used in previous HVTs, and have a range of physicochemical properties that would allow useful inference to more toxic chemicals when employed in future studies of emergency decontamination systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Toxicology
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is based on independent research commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (PR‐ST‐1015‐10016). In addition, Richard Amlôt is part‐funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE). The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health, ‘arms’ length bodies or other government departments. We are grateful to Charles Symons, Emma Jones and Lois Woods for their support to this project.

Funding Information:
This paper is based on independent research commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (PR-ST-1015-10016). In addition, Richard Aml?t is part-funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE). The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health, ?arms? length bodies or other government departments. We are grateful to Charles Symons, Emma Jones and Lois Woods for their support to this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Crown Copyright. Journal of Applied Toxicology published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords

  • chemical warfare agent
  • decontamination
  • emergency
  • human volunteer trials
  • simulant

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