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U.S. Army Permethrin Treated Uniforms: Past, Present and Future.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. Army Permethrin Treated Uniforms: Past, Present and Future."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. Army Permethrin Treated Uniforms: Past, Present and Future

2 The Search for Protection Man’s search for ways to protect himself from biting arthropods goes back thousands of years. The use of topical applications made of things such as oils, grease, and plant extracts were used by various cultures. Smoke from burning various plants and dung also provided protection against biting arthropods. While these methods provided some relief, the search for a better means to protect oneself against biting arthropods continued.

3 The Search for Protection It was found that certain plants found in certain regions provided better protection. As trade routes opened up the movement of local repellents moved with traders and travelers. Pyrethrum powders have been used by armies since Napoleon to combat body and head lice. Certain fabric’s were also found to be more repellent than others. The search for new and better repellents continues still today.

4 Skin vs. Clothing Repellents Skin Repellents –Variety of types (lotions, sprays) and forms (DEET, piperidine, and others). –Applied to the skin they often feel oily, smell and require frequent reapplication. Clothing repellents –Permethrin is only product labeled for clothing application. –Applied directly to clothing it binds to the fabric; resistance to weathering and washing. –Little to no odor from permethrin.

5 Pyrethrum Pyrethrins Pyrethroids Permethrin

6 Pyrethrum Pryethrum is a natural or biotanical insecticide that is found in the flowers of certain chrysanthemums. It is a highly effective insecticide but is relatively harmless to mammals. The insecticidal component is found in tiny oil- containing glands on the surface of the seed case in the flower head. Pyrthrum contains pyrethrin I and pyrethrin II collectively called pyrethrin.

7 Pyrethrins Natural insecticides extracted from the flowers of chrysanthemum. Causes paralysis in insects, but unless formulated with a synergist does not have long lasting effects. One of the least poisonous insecticides to mammals. Unstable in light or air, rapidly degrading in sunlight.

8 Pyrethroids Synthetic (human made) forms of pyrethrins. More stable in light and higher insecticidal activity. Inhibit the nervous system of insects.

9 Permethrin A synthetic pyrethroid that repels as well as knocksdown and kills insects. Identified in the 1970’s as a potential clothing repellent due to its rapid action, resistance to washing, durability, lack of odor, and safety. Permethrin is the only chemical labeled by the EPA for use on clothing in the United States. Odor associated with permethrin is due to the carrier and not permethrin which is odorless.

10 1942 –First formal Cooperative agreement between the Army and USDA to develop repellents against arthropods. –A large number of chemicals were tested to identify new and better repellents –Dimethry phthalate, Rutgers 612 (2-ethyl-1,3-hexanediol), Indalone, and the mixture (60% Dimethyl phthalate; 20% indalone; and 20% Rutgers 612) were used by various military groups. –Dimethyl phthalate when applied to clothing prevented chigger attachments. It became ineffective after a single rinsing in cool water. –Benzyl benzoate was adopted by the Army as the standard material for treating uniforms. It was shown to be effective through at least 2 soap and water washings. –Testing was done on uniform fabric’s to determine fabric resistance to mosquitoes –M-1960 (30% each of 2-butyl-2-ethyl-1,3-propanediol, N-butylacetanilide, and benzyl benzoate, and 10% TWEEN 80) adopted as the standard clothing repellent. –Clothing treated with M1960 proved 100% effective against chiggers, 90% effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas through more than a week of wear or until washed. –Retreatment after each washing was necessary to provide good protection against fleas, ticks and mosquitoes –USDA and DoD continue to pursue new repellents with greater efficacy and duration of protection. Clothing Repellent History

11 1978 –Schreck et al study on the “Durability of Permethrin as a Potential clothing Treatment to Protect Against Blood-feeding Arthropods” found that permethrin applied at a concentration of mg/cm 2 caused 100% mortality in arthropods that came in contact with it within 15 minutes –Armed Forces Pest Management Board recommends the use of permethrin as a military clothing treatment to replace M – Development of Joint Service Requirements Document (JSOR) for an arthropod repellent system approved by TRADOC. –Health Hazard Assessment Report completed by the AEHA (CHPPM) and reviewed by AFPMB staff identified factory treatment as optimum time for permethrin treatment –Arthropod repellent system fielded by USAMMDA. Package included EPA registration for IDA, 2-gallon sprayer, and factory pad roll permethrin clothing impregnation methods for BDUs –EPA registration granted for 3 methods: pad roll (factory), IDA kit, and 2-gallon sprayer. –USAF/USN/USMC concur for treatment of BDU uniform family. –Desert Shield/Storm shifts focus to just the Desert BDU. Clothing Repellent History

12 1992 –OTSG Army commissions the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Toxicology (COT) to review health risks associated with wear of factory treated uniforms. –16 th Army Clothing and Equipment Board (ACEB) recommended, and the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) approved, factory impregnation of DCUs but no contract was implemented. –Decision on factory treatment of BDUs was deferred pending results of the COT study –Media stories link permethrin treated BDUs as potential cause of Gulf War Syndrome. –COT study released and support factory impregnation of BDUs. –DLA delayed implementation pending the conduct of an environmental assessment (EA) to determine health risk to garment workers –Based on EA report, DLA decides not to impregnate BDU uniform fabric at factory due to concerns of exposure of garment works to permethrin. –DLA recommends treating only contingency uniforms; AFPMB concurs with recommendation. –AFPMB recommends that DLA procure permethrin treated contingency uniforms (hot weather BDUs and Desert BDUs) –Immersion and metered addition factory permethrin treatment methods evaluated for the treatment of BDUs. The metered addition method was found to be cost effective and practical for the permethrin treatment of mass quantities of BDUs. –Initiated garment label modification and application for EPA amended registration. Clothing Repellent History

13 1998 –AFPMB has factory treatment label amended by EPA to treat already manufactured BDUs. –DLA assigns NSN for treated DCUs and BDUs in preparation for stocking both treated and untreated uniforms. –Operational testing and user evaluations at Ft. Polk, LA confirms effectiveness and user acceptance of factory treated uniforms (completed in 1999) –The cost of factory treatment of BDUs is POM’d and approved for implementation in –All U.S. Military Academy (USMA) Cadets use either IDA Kits or Aerosol to treat BDUs. USMA unable to execute a contract fast enough to factory treat BDUs –Contract for factory treatment of uniforms is executed and all USMA cadets issued factory treated uniforms. 2003/4 –Money POM’d for factory treatment of BDUs is cancelled due to fielding of new Advanced Combat Uniform (ACU). –Process returns back to determining if ACU can be treated with permethrin. –Another Commercial Civilian Permethrin Factory Treatment Method approved by EPA: Civilian pants, shirts – line of treated children’s clothing –User Evaluation of Factory treated permethrin ACU conducted at JRTC by 1 st and 3 rd BCT, 101AA, Ft. Campbell. Clothing Repellent History

14 2005 –ACU replaces BDU as field uniform. –Marines implement a contract to factory treat the MCCUU uniform. –Army Test and Evaluation Command (AETC) publishes Capabilities and Limitations Report on Permethrin Treated Battle Dress Uniforms. March 05 –PEO Soldier express concerns that the existing safety documentation does not adequately address that permethrin treated uniforms are safe for: Long term wear (assuming 20 years daily wear) For pregnant and nursing mothers Pose no hazard to anyone else when they are washed with other clothing. –TSG provided an updated assessment on Safety of Permethrin Treated Uniforms. (21June 05) –EPA publishes report on Permethrin Reregistration Eligibility Decision Document. (19 July 05) –PEO Soldier develops testing methods and standards for evaluating the effectiveness of treated uniforms. –Vice Chief of Staff Army (VCSA) Memo indicates that once PEO Soldier testing and validation methods are developed and documented, then DLA will modify the ACU contract to add permethrin treatment. (19 Sep 05) 2007 –Fire retardant ACU (FRACU) are developed in response to Operational Needs Statement from CENTCOM. –FRACU are not tested for ability to be treated with permethrin prior to fielding. Clothing Repellent History

15 2008 –FRACU are fielded as deployment uniform. –PEO Soldier determines that FRACU cannot be treated by 2-gallon sprayer, IDA kit, or aerosol can due to inadequate binding of permethrin to fabric and bite protection not meeting requirements. –Permethrin application determined NOT to affect fire retardant qualities of FRACU fabric. –TRADOC changes the Soldier as a System core Soldier Capabilities Production Document (CPD) to add factory permethrin treatment for field uniforms. –TSG issues memorandum on the Safety of Permethrin Treated Uniforms. –DA G4 releases FOUO instructing that service members are not to treat FRACU with IDA kits, 2 gallon sprayers, or aerosol cans due to uneven absorption to by the FRACUs. –PEO Soldier is evaluating factory treatment of FRACU. –Currently there is no approved method to treat FRACU or other NOMEX type uniforms with permethrin. –Based on testing of factory treated FRACU it was determined that the uniforms could be treated to the mg/cm2 application rate; however, the bite protection was below the initial requirement of 96% and well below the 90% at 50 launderings. After discussions it was agreed to recommend to TRADOC that 80% bite protection at 50 laundering be accepted as the threshold for the FRACU. PEO Soldier is continuing to evaluate other FRACU fabric for treatment and bite efficacy but this will allow movement forward in treating FRACU for deploying forces. Current

16 2008 con’t: –Based on previous testing of factory treated FRACU, the bite protection did not improve above ~75%. After input from FORSCOM, AMEDD, and TRADOC recommendation made to lower threshold to 70% in order to move effort forward. –Army Uniform Board (AUB) meet 15 Dec 2008 with the factory treatment of uniforms as a agenda item. The AUB voted to implement the factory treatment of FRACU by 2010 and ACU by –DA approved the recommendation to lower the bite protection threshold to 70% for the FRACU. –PEO Soldier conducting quality assurance (QA) evaluation of companies seeking to factory treat FRACU with permethrin (FRACU-P). Once QA is completed the next step is for a contract to be released for bid and companies to be awarded the contract. Projected issue of FRACU-P is 2 nd /3 rd QTR FY –Uniform permethrin treatment matrix is now available at This chart will tell you what uniforms can be treated or not treated by the various methods.

17 Questions? If you have questions please contact the AFPMB by using the “contact us” link on our home page or call


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