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U.S. radiation suits donated to Japan

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U.S. radiation suits donated to Japan
Members of Japan Ground and Maritime Self-Defense Force unload drum of fuel from destroyer (DE-233) "Chikuma" as they aid in the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country, in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture, Japan, on March 17, 2011. UPI/Keizo Mori | License Photo

MIAMI, March 17 (UPI) -- A Florida company says it has donated 200 full-body nuclear radiation protection suits to aid power plant workers and rescue teams in Japan.

Meanwhile, Radiation Shield Technologies of Medley is working full-time to keep up with orders from companies in Japan, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

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The suits are in high demand because of their unique material, invented by Dr. Ronald DeMeo, a Coral Gables anesthesiologist and pain-management specialist, the newspaper said.

The material provides protection against infrared radiation, extreme heat, nuclear fallout and biological and chemical agents.

DeMeo said he first invented the fabric for medical personal after noticing sunburn-like skin damage on his arms and hands after using X-ray machines with his patients.

He also saw many colleagues in his field afflicted with different types of skin cancers, he said.

"I started to look into better shielding," DeMeo said. "I didn't realize I was venturing into something that hasn't been invented before."

When the Japanese reactors were damaged in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, DeMeo directed his Hong Kong distributors to donate suits in stock to Japan.

They are expected to arrive this weekend.

The suits weigh nearly 10 pounds and can be put on by the wearer without outside assistance, something not possible with other radiological suits, Dan Edward, head of business development at Radiation Shield Technologies, said.

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