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DuPont developing new protective suits for military, first responders

WILMINGTON, Del., Sept. 10, 2004 DuPont today announced promising research in the fight against terrorism with the development of protective materials that are resistant to chemical and biological agents. The suits are targeted for use by U.S. soldiers, firefighters, and other first responders. Early feedback from wearers has been positive.

The U.S. government has awarded nearly $2.5 million to DuPont and its partners to assist in the development of this new technology. Prototype military garments were recently tested by the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (Natick).

Prototypes of firefighter turnout gear were shown at the recent International Association of Fire Chiefs show in New Orleans. In addition to traditional DuPont fire resistant materials, DuPontTM Nomex and Kevlar, these new, lightweight suits contain a selectively permeable membrane developed by DuPont that will help protect front line defenders from toxic industrial chemicals and military warfare agents.

Through the process of selective transport -- the diffusion of water across a selectively permeable membrane -- this membrane allows sweat evaporation and body heat to escape to keep wearers cooler while blocking harmful agents from entering the suit. The new suits for the military are expected to be up to 50 percent lighter than existing protective gear, are impermeable to aerosols and biological agents and will fit compactly in a small duffel bag.

"In this post-9/11 environment, first responders and firefighters throughout the country are saying they need improved protection from weapons of mass destruction without compromising the weight and existing protection of their turnout gear," said Dale Outhous, DuPont Personal Protection business director. "We believe this emerging technology could revolutionize gear for both first responders and military personnel. The new suits should be lighter, more compact, more breathable and resistant to chemical and
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Contact: Michelle Reardon
michelle.s.reardon@usa.dupont.com
302-774-4774
DuPont
10-Sep-2004


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