Polypropylene is a leading commercial, fiber-forming polymer due to its low cost and potential for making high strength fibers. As the polymer of choice in the biomedical field, polypropylene contains only two elements, namely carbon and hydrogen. As a result, it is very hydrophobic and bio-inert lacking biodegradability in the landfill. Meltblown and spunbond polypropylene nonwovens were exposed to -radiation doses up to 25 kGy. The changes in morphology, chemical, thermal, and tensile properties were characterized by various analytical techniques. Following -radiation, the FTIR spectrum illustrated an increase in carbonyl groups suggesting radio-oxidation. Additionally, there was a decrease in thermal and tensile properties indicating deterioration of the polymer. (c) 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 39917.