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DMA® Named One of Year's Most Technologically Significant Products

CAMBRIDGE, MA, September 23, 1999
- Grace's DMA® digestion material for asbestos has been designated one of 1999's most technologically significant new products by R&D Magazine. As the recipient of the prestigious R&D 100 Award, this groundbreaking technology joins a select roster of products and processes that have become household names. Past winners include the flashcube, the digital wristwatch, antilock brakes, the automated teller machine, the liquid crystal display, the halogen lamp and the fax machine.

DMA technology -- developed jointly by Grace and Brookhaven National Laboratory -- provides a breakthrough, highly effective approach to asbestos abatement. Its patented chemical formulation literally digests and destroys chrysotile asbestos -- the most common form of the mineral and the type contained in porous materials such as spray-applied fireproofing manufactured until the early 1970s. DMA is applied to the surface as a foam that soaks into the material, penetrating throughout to contact and destroy the asbestos.

"We are honored that DMA is being recognized by such a distinguished group," said Leonard Dolhert, project manager at Grace Construction Products. "The development of this product represents Grace's commitment to innovation, through both our own R&D efforts and our collaboration with one of the nation's most respected scientific institutions."

Conventional asbestos removal is a costly and time-consuming process that requires construction of an air-tight workspace to contain the fibers, special disposal arrangements, and very thorough cleaning to make sure no residual fibers remain. With DMA, however, the asbestos-containing material does not need to be removed for treatment since the asbestos is destroyed with minimal fiber release. With this technology, fireproofing treated with DMA remains in place and continues to provide protection for structural steel beams, columns and corrugated decks at the equivalent fire rating the fireproofing material had when it contained asbestos.

DMA can also destroy chrysotile asbestos present in other porous materials. Scientists at Grace and Brookhaven are currently examining several other potential applications for the technology.

DMA's digestion chemistry involves a reaction with the chrysotile asbestos to eliminate its fibrous structure and change its chemical composition. Chrysotile asbestos consists of alternating layers of magnesia and silica arranged in a tubular geometry. The active DMA components sequentially attack these layers until the chrysotile chemical structure is destroyed. As the magnesia and silica layers are separated during this chemical process, new inert, non-fibrous minerals are formed. The US Patent Office has issued seven patents on the unique DMA formulation and its method of application.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Grace Construction Products, a business unit of W.R. Grace & Co., is a leading manufacturer worldwide of concrete admixtures, cement processing additives, fire protection, waterproofing and masonry products. The company has more than 125 plants and sales offices around the world.

DMA is a registered trademark of W.R. Grace & Co. -Conn.

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