Chemical Weapons Use In Warfare And Terrorism

In recent years, through various terrorist attacks, chemical and biological weapons have become a threat to the general public.
Chemical weapons are weapons that contain chemical agents. These agents are poisonous chemical compounds that can injure or kill individuals through contact, inhalation or ingestion. The chemical agent can be in the form of liquids or gasses but can vary in properties. The agents are generally stable whilst being stored but can be very reactive when released.
Chemical weapons have been used throughout history in warfare dating back to ancient and medieval times where weapons and arrows dipped in poison where used to kill their opponent more effectively. During the 1800s it was possible to produce large amounts of chemical agents, which led to an international peace conference held in The Hague1 in 1899 to prohibit the use of chemical agents on weapons and in projectiles. Mass use of chemical agents wasfirst seen in World War I where 100,000 tonnes of toxic chemical was used resulting in 90,000 deaths and over a million casualties1.
Currently there are many different types of agents used in chemical weapons, which can be grouped together in different categories;
· Nerve agents are the considered to be the most dangerous of chemical warfare agents. These agents can cause the loss of consciousness and convulsion within seconds of exposure can cause death within minutes.
Sarin (C4H10FO2P, methylphosphonofluoridic acid, (1-methylethyl) ester) is a nerve agent. It was discovered in Germany in 1938 by Dr. Gerhard Schrader but was never really used during World War II. It is highly toxic in both liquid and gas form and is colourless and odourless but can sometimes have a fruity smell. Sarin can cause death minutes after exposure. It enters your body through your skin and eyes and also through inhalation. Symptoms of sarin can included a runny nose and drooling, vomiting, nausea, dimmed vision and h…

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