Bertin Environics is committed on providing our customers effective CBRN monitoring solutions utilizing state-of-the-art technology. To keep up with this commitment, it is essential to ensure that our solutions can answer the ever-evolving challenges the operators may face on the field. Our team of CBRN experts is constantly working on keeping abreast with the latest requirements and developments. Listening to the end-users’ feedback and suggestions helps us to better shape our products for serving the their needs effectively.

We are now proud to announce that thanks to intensive research and development, the detection capability of ChemPro family of chemical detectors namely ChemProX and ChemProX-DS will be expanded with the ability to detected Non-traditional agents (NTAs), aka Novichoks. This feature will be offered as a complementary upgrade for all, existing and new ChemProX users.

What are Novichok agents?

“The first reported appearance of the Novichok(s) agents dates back to the mid of 1990’s, when the secret Soviet chemical weapon program came to public. According to this breakthrough revelation, the program was developing various newcomer agents. The first three of these were Substance -33, A-230 and A-232.  The structure and synthesization of these agents was similar to normal nerve agents – 3rd generation agents. Novichok-5 was synthesized off based on A-232 structure, being the first binary type of Newcomer agents in year 1989. Hundreds of Novichok agents were synthesized but only Substance-33, A-230, A-232, A-234, Novichok-5 and Novichok-7 are known to be weaponised. Most weaponised Novichok agents are believed to be binary. In the case of A-234, the binary agents were reported to be acetonitrile and a low potency organophosphate”

Novichok, Newbie in Town by Training Manager Toni Leikas

Because Sometimes You Don’t Get to Pick Your Poison…

Given the very persistent properties of the Novichok agents, detecting these threats may prove to be extremely challenging. Chemicals that cannot be sensed with human senses nor evaporate well, push the boundaries of sophisticated and highly sensitive detectors even more.

To tackle the challenge of finding the unknown or unseen, using additional tools that support or even expand the detection capabilities of the detectors can be used. However, in the case of Novichoks, that are highly poisonous and persistent, the operators should also decrease the amount of equipment that may become contaminated – or at least use tools that can be easily, yet appropriately, disposed.

Please accept cookies to watch this video.

In the case of detecting Novichoks utilizing ChemProX, “thinking outside the box” can be as simple as using a common funnel to concentrate the vapors of the highly persistent agent: this is an inexpensive and most importantly, easily disposable option.

The views and opinions expressed in Bertin Environics Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Environics Oy. Any content provided by the authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, neither they serve as a scientific statement.


Mika Saarinen

Product Manager Handheld Chemical Detection

I am Mika, a relatively new face in the CBRN business and eagerly learning new things every day. I have grown my expertise especially in the handheld chemical detection segment bringing fresh thoughts and insights to the subject.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.