What Is the Definition of "decontamination"?


Quick Answer

Dictionary.com defines "decontamination" as the process of making an area safe for people by removing, neutralizing or destroying a harmful substance. Potential harmful substances include any radioactive materials, poisonous gases and contagious diseases. Proper decontamination must occur quickly and thoroughly to ensure the future safety of an area.

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Full Answer

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states that radioactive materials are the most common type of contaminants encountered. The HHS offers guidelines for addressing and minimizing harmful substances. These include the recommendation of removing potentially contaminated objects or clothing, reducing radiation contamination by as much as 90 percent.

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