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Decontamination is the process of cleansing an object or substance to remove contaminants such as micro-organisms or hazardous materials, including chemicals, radioactive substances, and infectious diseases. Decontamination is sometimes abbreviated as "decon", "dcon" or "decontam".

The purpose of decontamination is to prevent the spread of micro-organisms and other contaminants[1] that may threaten the health of human beings or animals or damage the environment.

Decontamination is most commonly used in medical environments, including dentistry, surgery and veterinary science, in the process of food preparation, in environmental science[2] and in forensic science.[3]


Methods of decontamination include:[4]

A variety of decontaminants may be used, including physical processes such as distillation and chemical decontaminants such as alcohols and detergents.

See also[edit]