A gel composition containing oxidizing agents and thickening or gelling agents is used to detoxify chemical and biological agents by application directly to a contaminated area. The gelling agent is a colloidal material, such as silica, alumina, or alumino-silicate clays, which forms a viscous gel that does not flow when applied to tilted or contoured surfaces. Aqueous or organic solutions of oxidizing agents can be readily gelled with less than about 30% colloidal material. Gel preparation is simple and suitable for field implementation, as the gels can be prepared at the site of decontamination and applied quickly and uniformly over an area by a sprayer. After decontamination, the residue can be washed away or vacuumed up for disposal.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.