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    Chemical warfare agents are poisonous vapors, aerosols, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. They can be released by bombs, sprayed from aircraft, boats, or vehicles, or used as a liquid to create a hazard to people and the environment. Some chemical agents may be odorless and tasteless. They can have an immediate effect (a few seconds to a few minutes) or a delayed effect (several hours to several days). While potentially lethal, chemical agents are difficult to deliver in lethal concentrations. Outdoors, the agents often dissipate rapidly.Chemical agents are also difficult to produce. There are six types of agents:

o Lung-damaging (pulmonary) agents such as phosgene,
o Cyanide,
o Vesicants or blister agents such as mustard,
o Nerve agents such as GA (tabun), GB (sarin), GD (soman), GF, and VX,
o Incapacitating agents such as BZ, and
o Riot-control agents (similar to Mace).

Common Chemical Terrorism Agents


CYANIDE

-
Cyanide is a rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical that can exist in various forms.
-Cyanide can be a colorless gas, such as hydrogen cyanide (HCN) or cyanogen chloride (CNCl), or a crystal form such as sodium cyanide (NaCN) or potassium cyanide (KCN).
-Cyanide gas sometimes is described as having a “bitter almond” smell, but it does not always give off an odor, and not everyone can detect this odor.
-Cyanide is also known by the military designations AN (for hydrogen cyanide) and CK (for cyanogen chloride).

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SARIN (GB)
   -Sarin is a man-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent.  Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. They are similar to certain kinds of insecticides called organophosphate insecticides in terms of how they work and what kind of harmful effects they cause; however, nerve agents are much more potent than insecticides.
   -Sarin originally was developed in 1938 in Germany as an insecticide.
   -Sarin is a clear, colorless, and tasteless liquid that has no odor in its pure form. However, sarin can evaporate into a vapor (gas) and spread into the environment.
   -Sarin is also known as GB.

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RICIN
  -Ricin is a poison that can be made from the waste left over from processing castor beans.
  -It can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.
  -It is a stable substance. For example, it is not affected much by extremE conditions such as very hot or very cold temperatures.

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SOMAN (GD)
  -
Soman is a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent. Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. They are similar to insecticides called organophosphate insecticides in terms of how they work and what kinds of harmful effects they cause. However, nerve agents are much more potent than insecticides.
  -Soman was originally developed as an insecticide in Germany in 1944.
  -Soman is also known as “GD.”
  -Soman is a clear, colorless, tasteless liquid with a slight camphor odor (for example, Vicks Vapo-Rub®) or rotting fruit odor.

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SULFUR MUSTARD
  -
Sulfur mustard is a type of chemical warfare agent. These kinds of agents are called vesicants or blistering agents, because they cause blistering of the skin and mucous membranes on contact.
  -Sulfur mustard is also known as "mustard gas or mustard agent," or by the military designations H, HD, and HT.
  -Sulfur mustard sometimes smells like garlic, onions, or mustard and sometimes has no odor. It can be a vapor (the gaseous form of a liquid), an oily-textured liquid, or a solid.
  -Sulfur mustard can be clear to yellow or brown when it is in liquid or solid form.

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TABUN (GA)
  -
Tabun is a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent. Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. They are similar to insecticides called organophosphate insecticides in terms of how they work and what kinds of harmful effects they cause. -However, nerve agents are much more potent than insecticides.
  -Tabun was originally developed as an insecticide in Germany in 1936.
  -Tabun is also known as “GA.”
  -Tabun is a clear, colorless, tasteless liquid with a faint fruity odor.

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VX
  -
VX is a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent. Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. They are similar to insecticides called organophosphate insecticides in terms of how they work and what kinds of harmful effects they cause. However, nerve agents are much more potent than insecticides.
  -VX was originally developed in the United Kingdom in 1952 by scientists who were searching for a replacement for the insecticide DDT.
  -VX is odorless and tasteless.
  -VX is an oily liquid that is amber in color and very slow to evaporate. It evaporates about as slowly as motor oil.

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               Information obtained from FEMA and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

 
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