Washington, DC - Congressman Randy Neugebauer and scientists from The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University unveiled a newly-developed fabric used to protect against harmful biological and chemical agents on Monday.

"Once again Texas Tech has proven itself to be a leading research institution by developing this innovative and necessary product," Neugebauer said. "This new fabric will protect our troops on the battlefield as well as Americans here at home against biological and chemical warfare."

The fabric was developed by scientists with the Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats, a research program within TIEHH. Although research and development began in 1999, this innovative product will be an asset to homeland security efforts in a post-September 11 environment.

The fabric possesses several qualities that make it a unique product. Soft and non-corrosive, the fabric can be used as a wipe to remove dangerous contaminants from surfaces ranging from human skin to fighter planes. The wipe is constructed using nonwoven technology, which is much more cost effective than the more conventional, woven alternative.

By developing this product, TIEHH is meeting the specific needs of today's military as expressed in a 2004 report published by the Department of Defense (DoD). In this report, DoD called for products such as the one developed by TIEHH to be a part of its Decontamination Science and Technology Strategy.

TIEHH has tapped into a local resource in developing the fabric as cotton is one of the primary components. This innovative use of cotton carries the added benefit of creating a new market for West Texas cotton growers.

Neugebauer worked to secure $3.75 million through the Defense Appropriations Bills for FY 2004 and 2005 in order to fund the Zumwalt Program.

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