Porton Down test on chemical decontamination showers

Volunteers are being sought to test new emergency decontamination showers at a chemical research centre in Wiltshire.

Participants should be male, aged 18-40, in good health and willing to be showered in cold water for 15 seconds.

The Porton Down study will look at how the process can affect mood, stress levels and the ability to perform simple tasks.

The centre is now run by Public Health England (PHE) but previously was part of the military.

People taking part in this study will be given £50 in gift vouchers for their time.

'Well-practised procedure'

The PHE study looks to test the effectiveness of experimental emergency services decontamination showering procedures involving large numbers of people.

Participants are required for up to three-and-a-half hours on the day and up to 10 minutes the following day.

"This is a well-practised procedure carried out by fully-trained PHE research staff," a spokesman said.

Porton Down was set up in 1916 as a top secret chemical weapons centre on a 7,000 acre site near Sailsbury.

Under the military, servicemen were exposed to Sarin and CS and were offered around £2 and three days leave as an incentive to take part in tests.

Nerve agents such as Sarin and CS gas have previously been tested on servicemen at the centre.

Very few servicemen knew what they were volunteering for and some were even told it was research into the cure for the common cold.

Since the end of World War Two, 20,000 people have taken part in experiments at Porton Down.

The site, now part of Public Health England, undertakes basic research into understanding infectious diseases and the development of healthcare products on behalf of the UK government.

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