Hazardous Materials:

DOD Should Eliminate DS2 From Its Inventory of Decontaminants

NSIAD-90-10: Published: Apr 25, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1990.

Additional Materials:


Nancy R. Kingsbury
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated Decontamination Solution 2 (DS2), focusing on: (1) the Army's management and disposal of DS2; (2) DS2 effects on the readiness of the Army's deployed weapon systems; and (3) whether the Army properly stored DS2.

GAO found that: (1) Army units continued to purchase DS2 and Army technical manuals continued to instruct personnel to use the solution regardless of its proven damaging effects on weapon systems; (2) the Army's DS2 storage facilities did not conform to Department of Defense regulations, resulting in potential danger to humans and the environment; (3) the Air Force and the Navy used effective alternatives to DS2; (4) Army tests indicated that household bleaches were as effective as DS2; (5) the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) did not inform buyers of potential dangers and safety precautions associated with DS2; (6) on February 13, 1990, DLA restricted DS2 sales to recyclers; and (7) DLA believed that it had no authority to limit individual buyers from buying DS2.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army continues to use DS2. The most recent use was during the MidEast crisis. It has, however, initiated several research and development projects to find a replacement for DS2, but it does not expect to have a replacement until fiscal year 1998 at the earliest. Therefore, GAO should not continue to carry this as an open recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Army and the Marine Corps to use a substitute for DS2 and all services to eliminate DS2 from their inventory of decontaminants.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) issued a message in September 1989 prohibiting all sales of DS2, except to recyclers. In March 1990, these instructions were incorporated into the DRMS handbook on Disposal Operating Procedures.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DLA, to ensure that DS2 is not available to the general public and that DS2 sales are restricted to recyclers.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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