Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #254950

Title: Insecticide-Treated Uniforms for the Military: Recent Challenges and Developments

item Bernier, Ulrich
item PERRY, MELYNDA - Natick Soldier Center
item MOORE, BETSY - Natick Soldier Center

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/30/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: N/A.

Technical Abstract: Permethrin has been the standard insect repellent treatment for military uniforms since 1991; however, uniform composition, construction, and fabric treatments have changed has changed over time. When the United States Marine Corps (USMC) added a permanent press finish to their uniforms in 2003, this treatment created complications with permethrin retention and protection from insect bites. The USMC transitioned to factory-treatment of MCCUUs with permethrin because it allowed both the permanent press finish and permethrin impregnation to be combined such that permethrin was retained well and the bite protection remained at high levels (> 90% compared to an untreated uniform) throughout the lifetime of the uniform (50 standardized wash cycles). For the U.S. Army, the change in uniform composition (65% Rayon, 25% para-aramid, 10% nylon) to produce the Fire-Resistant Army Combat Uniform (FRACU) resulted in a uniform that did not retain permethrin as well as the 50% nylon/50% cotton ACU. Additionally, the FRACU construction had to be more permeable to provide acceptable comfort to the soldier that wears this uniform. The FRACU has an air permeability rating almost 10 times higher than the ACU. As a result of the compositional and construction changes, field treatment of uniforms (e.g. the use of Individual Dynamic Absorption [IDA] kits) is no longer acceptable due to environmental concerns related to excess permethrin not absorbed into the fabric. As a result of using a more permeable fabric, the protection from insect bites is decreased, even at the label rate for permethrin impregnation (0.52% weight add-on). Factory-level permethrin-treated FRACUs are now being explored as a solution to overcome the decreased absorption characteristics and higher air permeability of this uniform. The ultimate benefit of factory-treated over field-treated uniforms is decreased permethrin loss from washing and higher bite protection over the lifetime of the uniform. This presentation will cover the protection from Aedes aegypti and Anopheles albimanus bites afforded by permethrin-treated MCCUUs, ACUs, FRACUs, Nomex (95% meta-aramid) U.S. Army uniforms, U.S. Air Force Battle Uniforms (ABUs), and USMC Fire Resistant Organization Gear (FROG).