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Chemical Warfare

Overview

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Classes of Chemical Agents

Nerve Agents

  • Health Effects
    • Physostigmine cholinesterase inhibitors (reversible)
    • Organophosphorus cholinesterase inhibitors (irreversible)
    • Disable enzymes responsible for transmitting nerve impulses.
    • Initial effects of organophosphorus agents occur within 1-10 minutes of exposure
    • Death
      • Within 15 minutes for Tabun, Sarin, and Soman
      • From 4-42 hours for VX.
  • Agents Include
    • Tabun (NATO military designation, GA)
    • Sarin (NATO military designation, GB)
    • Soman (NATO military designation, GD)
    • GF (Cyclohexyl methylphosphonofluoridate)
    • VX (Methylphosphonothioic acid S-(2-(bis(1-methylethyl)amino)ethyl) O-ethyl ester)
    • GE (Phosphonofluoridic acid, ethyl-, isopropyl ester)
    • VE (Phosphonothioic acid, ethyl-, S-(2-(diethylamino)ethyl) O-ethyl ester)
    • VG (Amiton)
    • VM (Phosphonothioic acid, methyl-, S-(2-(diethylamino)ethyl) O-ethyl ester)

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Blister/Vesicant Agents

  • Health Effects
    • Vesicants
      • Skin blisters
      • Damage eyes, mucous membranes, respiratory tract, and internal organs
      • Initial effects rapid
    • Mustard agents
      • Destroy different substances within cells of living tissue
      • Initial effects occur 12 to 24 hours after exposure.
    • Symptoms variable
    • Acute mortality low
    • Death can occur from complications after lung injury.
  • Agents Include

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Blood Agents

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Pulmonary Agents

  • Health Effects
    • Liquids dispersed in gas form
    • Damage the respiratory tract and cause severe pulmonary edema in about four hours, leading to eventual death. Effects are variable
    • Rapid or delayed depending on the specific agent.
  • Agents Include

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Emergency Response & Treatment

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Counterterrorism & Preparedness

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Law and Policy

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Resources from the National Library of Medicine

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ChemIDplus - Chemical identification and structure database

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MedlinePlus - Consumer Health Information

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NLM Catalog - Access to information about books and other materials in NLM's catalog

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Portals

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Información en español

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Disclaimer

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