I posted a story on Military.com this morning about the Army’s plans to outfit the ranks with permethrin-treated Army Combat Uniforms. I’m still on the fence about this one.

On one hand, I think it’s great that uniform officials claim that factory-treating ACUs with permethrin will solve past problems of under-treating or over-treating uniforms when using the Individual Dynamic Absorption Kits to apply permethrin.

In some cases, these individual treatment kits result in the permethrin being too concentrated on random sections of the uniforms. This led to contact dermatitis and other skin rashes, according to PEO Soldier officials. Treating uniforms with permethin at the factory level provides consistent coverage that’s strong enough to kill crawling insects but safe for everyday wear, PEO Soldier officials said, adding that the Army’s Surgeon General approved the treatment method in 2008.

Soldiers deploying to the warzone have been wearing flame-resistant ACUs that have been factory treated with permethrin for the past two years.

I have never worn permethrin-treated uniforms of any type. But even though 25 years have passed, I can still remember plucking blood-bloated ticks from the darkest regions of my body after spending a week in the bug-friendly hinterlands of Fort Bragg. Back then, I’m pretty sure I would have been happy to wear something like the Army’s new ACU-P.

What I am not so sure about is the Army’s plan to eventually replace standard ACUs with the permethrin-treated version. I understand that every soldier should be protected, but if you are in a job that requires no field time — do you really need them?

Uniform officials say the new ACU-Ps are totally safe and will cost no more than standard ACUs. I don’t know. Has anyone out there worn the FR ACUs that have been factory-treated with permethrin? Let us know what you think.

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