Chemical Weapons, What Is the Big Deal

There is a great deal of talking, writing and upset over the subject of chemical weapons. Specifically have Clonazepam Powder for sale used in Syria? If chemical weapons were used who were the ones employing them, when were they employed, who were the targets, and what weapons were used? It is worthy to note here that the triad of special weapons nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) has significant physical impact but also tremendous psychological impact.

It will be useful to take a look at what chemical weapons are and how they work. The U.S. Military has divided chemical weapons into several categories.

· Nerve agents – Nerve agents are called agents because they are not a gas. There is no nerve gas. All military nerve agents are manufactured, weaponized and disseminated as a liquid as opposed to a gas. Depending upon the physical characteristics of the chemical it may change from a liquid state to a vapor or gas state fairly easily. In the case of the most toxic nerve agent, VX is a very sick liquid and has a very low vapor pressure and a very high boiling point. VX does not become a gas or vapor without a great deal of heat and/or pressure. So when you read nerve gas please understand that these agents are not gases they are liquids. One of the reasons that the nerve agents are so effective as weapons is there one of the few chemicals that can cause illness or death if you breathe them in or if you merely get them on your skin. Many chemicals can injure you if you breathe them in. There are very few chemicals that cause severe systemic illness or death simply by being absorbed through the skin. Fortunately there are very effective antidotes for nerve agent exposure.

· Blister agents – the primary chemical agent that comes to mind as a blister agent is sulfur mustard. There are others. This is also often referred to as mustard gas. As we saw in nerve agents mustard is manufactured, weapon eyes, and disseminated as a liquid. Mustard will become a gas under the right environmental conditions, which means that it is fairly warm like say the desert. One of the reasons that sulfur mustard is such an effective weapon is that it causes eye injuries to those people who are not protected by a mask or similar equipment. There is no antidote for exposure to sulfur mustard. As is implied by the name blister agents do just that. They cause chemical burns to the skin the result in large painful blisters.

· Choking agents – choking agents are poorly named. Some of them do cause some choking upon exposure. Choking however is not the primary effect or the cause of illness and death. The choking agents cause injury and death because of their effect on the respiratory system. It would be more accurate to call these agents pulmonary agents. Choking agents include such chemicals as phosgene, chlorine, and ammonia. Intuitively I’m sure you understand that breathing any of these things is not good for you. What you may not understand is a significant and immediate deleterious effect that these chemicals have on the cardiorespiratory system. Depending on the nature and duration of exposure to these chemicals the signs and symptoms can be as simple as choking and coughing or the pathology that usually results in death – chemical pneumonia/pulmonary edema. There is no antidote for chemical damage to the lungs and pulmonary edema. These patients require significant intensive care to have any chance of survival.

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