Chemical Warfare Essay, Research Paper

Chemical Warfare

1.0 What are Chemical Warfare Agents?

Chemical arms include any chemical substance, whether in a gaseous, liquid, or solid province, which can be used to do loss of public presentation, lasting hurt, or decease in worlds. These chemicals are normally semisynthetic poisons, nevertheless, there is increasing research in the usage of natural biological toxins as chemical warfare agents.

Many 1000s of chemicals produced by worlds are extremely toxicant, nevertheless, merely about 70 of these have been used in this century as chemical warfare agents. The ground for this lies in the standards which a chemical must run into in order to be used as one of these warfare agents. These standards include ;

-the agent must be toxic plenty to do the coveted consequence, but must non be so toxic that it is excessively difficult to manage,

-the agent should be able to be stored for comparatively long periods of clip without losing it s authority,

-it must be immune to environmental conditions such as rain and O,

-finally, it must be able to defy a great trade of heat as the dispersion of these agents is normally accomplished with some type of bomb.

2.0 History of Chemical Warfare

The debut of chemical warfare can be attributed to German chemist Fritz Haber who played a prima function in the development of toxicant gas during World War One. After much convincing he persuaded the Central Powers ( i.e Germany, Turkey, etc. ) to utilize Cl gas to interrupt through enemy lines. The Germans awarded him with an Officers rank and he went on to direct the first gas onslaught in War history. This onslaught which occurred on April 22, 1915, was the first of about 200 chemical onslaughts during the First World War. The Germans headed by Haber, discharged 180,000 kilogram of Cl gas which either killed or caused the retreat of 1000s of allied soldiers ( Britian, France, Canada, etc. ) therefore making a 8 kilometer spread in the enemy line. Two yearss subsequently in Ypres the Germans struck once more with similar consequences, but this clip on Canadian soldiers. Deaths over this two twenty-four hours period were estimated to be 5,000 with another 10,000 disabled.

In response to these gas attacks the Alliess called upon Major Charles Howard Foulkes of the Royal Engineers to develop a counter-attack. On September 25, 1915 the Alliess responded to German gas onslaughts with one of their ain. Unfortunately the air current changed class and some of the gas made its manner back to their ain trenches, killing 1000s of soldiers. The staying gas nevertheless reached the German trenches turn outing lethal for legion Germans every bit good. On December 9, 1915, with the air currents once more on their side, the Germans launched another gas onslaught on the Allied lines utilizing Cl gas and a new gas called phosgene. Phosgene was another chemical Fritz Haber and his colleges recognized as a effectual arm. Its deadly concentration was about 20 times every bit deadly as Cl. Fortunately the Allies had anticipated the usage of this chemical and had manufactured 1000000s of gas masks referred to as P- Helmets. This foresight by the Allies saved 1000000s of soldiers from inevitable decease. Although several other types of gas were used Cl and phosgene gas were the primary 1s utilized by both the Alliess and cardinal powers during the bulk of the war.

It wasn T until July 12, 1917 that another outstanding chemical arm was introduced. The Germans attacked the Allies with what is normally referred to as mustard gas. This arm proved even more effectual than the Cl and phosgene and was the most deadly gas used during World War One. The Allies and Central Powers swapped gas onslaughts for the continuance of the war killing about 100, 000 soldiers and wounding over a million others. The unfortunate portion is neither the Allies or Central Powers gained any recognizable land through use of this war maneuver.

3.0 Methods of Delivery

3.1 Charged Cylinders

The first toxicant gases utilized by Germany during the war were discharged from charged cylinders installed in their trenches. The success of such gas onslaughts depended upon a favourable air current which would transport the gas in high concentration easy over the trenches of the unprotected allied military personnels. In order to dispatch these gas filled cylinders soliders had to manually let go of the valve. Chlorine the first gas used, being denser than air, followed the topography of the land. Because of this custodies on attack many self-contamination deceases occured utilizing this bringing method.

3.2 Projectors

Projectors replaced the charged cylinder method. Explosives were put in the underside of these cylinders and the gas placed on top. The cylinders were placed at an angle of 45 grades in a trench or in some particular country that offered protection. A big figure of these projectors were placed in series and fired at the same time utilizing electricity. This permitted the discharge of a big measure of toxicant gas on a comparatively little mark. A successful projector onslaught produced really serious consequences, and it could be carried out without much respect to weave speed and way. During nighttime onslaughts enemies could see the flash from the explosives therefore giving ample warning to fix by seting on gas masks and it besides gave away the location of the aggressor. Consequently, this method of utilizing gas at a comparatively short scope limited onslaughts to daylight hours.

3.3 Hand Grenades

Hand grenades were used for presenting gas under certain state of affairss, such as close combat combat, but their usage was so restricted that they did non account for many deceases.

3.4 Gas Shells

The alteration which placed gas warfare on a really of import military plane was the building of the gas shell and the distribution of these shells by the usage of heavy weapon. All types of gases were being used in gas shells and the conditions conditions had really small consequence on bringing. Another benifit the gas shell had over all old methods of bringing was its long scope capablenesss. After the usage of gas shells had been brought into being it was hard for the soliders to find if merely high explosives were being used or whether a gas onslaught had besides been launched. For this ground the soliders were forced to have on gas masks every bit shortly as they were subjected to an air onslaught, and this in itself signifagantly reduced their combat effectivity.

4.0 Classs of Chemical Warfare Agents

Chemical warfare agents can be classified into one of seven groups dependant upon their chemical composing and the effects they have on worlds. These seven classs are ( in order of earnestness ) ; nervus agents, mustard agents, H nitrile, arsines, tear gases, psychotomimetic agents, and eventually toxins.

4.1 Nerve agents

Nerve agents gain their name from the fact that they all affect the transmittal of nervus urges. The bulk of these agents arose out of research begun in 1934 dedicated towards development of new pesticides. The preliminary consequence of this research was the find of organo-phosphorus compounds which turned out to be really effectual in killing plagues. Unfortunately, they were every bit effectual at killing worlds. The military all of a sudden became interested in these compounds, and later continued with the research into these deathly chemicals. In the terminal, over two thousand new organo-phosphorus compounds were developed. Of these, four were developed farther to be used as chemical warfare agents.

Tabun was the first to be developed. It is the easiest and cheapest of all nervus agents to fabricate. For these grounds, it is the chemical arm of pick for developing states. Sarin and Soman were following to be developed and proved to be even more lifelessly than Tabun. Finally, in 1958 the most lifelessly of the nervus gas household was produced, viz. VX. VX was non merely more lifelessly, but was besides more relentless and gluey, thereby staying on anything it contacted.

All of these agents are colourless liquids in the pure province and have the same mechanism of action. The nervus agent can be either in gas, aerosol, or liquid signifier, and enters the organic structure through both inspiration and cuticular soaking up. By and large, the agent works faster when it is absorbed through the respiratory system. VX gas is an exclusion to this regulation as its effects occur more quickly through dermis

fifty soaking up. Regardless, the toxic effects are arrived at in the same mode, as these agents all inhibit the operation of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase which is responsible for the dislocation of acetylcholine at nervous junctions. Therefore, acetylcholine builds up and finally overloads the system. An result of decease is about certain and is normally due to palsy of respiratory musculuss. Other symptoms which may happen prior to decease include spasms, purging, running eyes, paroxysms, and nonvoluntary discharge of urine and fecal matters. The deadly dosage and deadly concentrations are as follows ;

LC50 ( mg.min/m3 ) LD50 ( mg/individual )

Tabun 200 4000

Sarin 100 1700

Soman 100 300

VX 50 10

4.2 Mustard Agents

Mustard agents are by and large classified as vesicating agents as the formation of blisters is a common consequence. These agents can, nevertheless, besides have serious effects on eyes, respiratory system, and assorted other internal variety meats. These agents were used for the first clip during World War I to blush military personnels out of trenches, as mustard gas has a denseness greater than air.

Mustard gas does non smell like mustard, which is a common misconception. In fact, in its pure province it is colourless and about odorless. The action of this agent is dependent upon its site of contact and its ability to covalently bond with other substances within the human organic structure. It s vesicating affects are besides non normally immediate, and in fact, these symptoms are normally delayed between two and 24 hours after contact. Death from exposure to mustard agents is normally non due to the exposure itself, but is instead due to lung complications which develop subsequently. One other serious consequence associated with mustard agents is the development of malignant neoplastic disease. These agents have the ability to interrupt and bridge different sequences of DNA. If natural fix mechanisms are overwhelmed, uncontrolled cell growing may ensue in tumour formation.

The toxicity of mustard gas is as follows ;

LC50- 1500mg.min/m3

LD50- 10000mg/individual

4.3 Hydrogen Cyanide

Hydrogen nitrile is a colorless liquid which has a high toxicity and quickly leads to decease in those exposed to it. Although it can be absorbed through the tegument, the most of import path of toxic condition occurs through inspiration.

Hydrogen nitriles toxic effects are a consequence of its ability to adhere and suppress metal incorporating enzymes. For illustration, H nitrile inhibits the operation of the enzyme cytochromoxidase which is necessary for the use of O during cellular respiration. Since it is inhibited, normal cellular respiration ceases and cell decease consequences. Although this action by and large consequences in human death, mild exposures may ensue in which symptoms such as emesis, paroxysms, concern, and silliness appear. The effects and concentrations are as follows ;

Concentration ( mg/m3 ) Consequence

300 Immediate decease

200 Death in 10 min.

150 Death in 30 min.

120-150 Fatal in 30-60 min.

50-60 Endurable for 20-60 min. with few effects

20-40 Light symptoms after several hours of exposure.

4.4 Arsines

The chief arsinic compound used as a chemical warfare agent is named Lewisite. Lewisite is a colorless liquid which smells like Allium sativum. The symptoms which develop are really similar to that of mustard agents. In fact, Lewisite was invented by the Americans near the terminal of World War I to revenge against the Germans usage of mustard gas. The chief difference is that unlike mustard agents in which symptoms can be delayed between two and 24 hours, the effects of Lewisite are immediate. Therefore, development of effects may be more terrible with mustard gas as the individual may be unaware of what is happening to their organic structure.

4.5 Tear Gass

Tear gases, besides known as lacrimants, are a group of compounds which incapacitate a individual by bring downing hurting to the eyes, and an unmanageable flow of cryings therefore doing it impossible to maintain the eyes unfastened. Three such gases have been used as chemical warfare agents, viz. CN ( CN gas ) , CR ( dibenz B, f-1,4-oxazepine ) , and most normally CS ( ortho-chlorobenzlidene-malonitrile ) . All of these compounds exist as white solids and are dissolved in organic dissolvers to be dispersed as aerosols.

The action of tear gases is immediate, doing hurting in the eyes, flow of cryings, and finally cramping of the palpebras. These gases in high concentrations, nevertheless, can besides impact the olfactory organ, pharynx, air passages, and tegument. All of these effects are dependent upon the agent moving upon the nervousnesss found within mucose membranes and tegument. Here, the agent causes unmanageable nervus fire, and therefore unmanageable tear production.

Although serious hurt and decease could happen at certain concentrations, these are so high that these effects are made extremely improbable. Besides, these compounds are non believed to hold any negative effects on familial stuff of foetal development. For these grounds, the footings threshold concentration ( TC ) and unbearable concentration ( IC ) are by and large used instead than deadly concentration and deadly dosage in showing the efficiency of tear gas as a chemical warfare agent. A TC50 therefore implies the concentration at which 50 % of those exposed show a perceivable consequence. The IC50 refers to the concentrations at which 50 % of those exposed feel the effects to be unbearable. The TC50 and IC50 for the three chief tear gases given supra are as follows ;


TC50 ( eyes ) 0.3 0.004 0.004

TC50 ( air passages ) 0.4 0.023 0.002

IC50 20-50 3.6 0.7

4.6 Psychotomimetic Agents

Psychotomimetic agents are a comparatively little category of chemical warfare agents which have by and large lost involvement over the old ages. These agents are substances which basically make those which are exposed high, taking to symptoms of rigidness, hallucinations, loss of feeling, etc. Although these compounds can perchance take to decease through respiratory depression, their intent is to temporarily disable their victim. One illustration, Phencyclidine, causes symptoms of freak out, loss of organic structure control, loss of feeling, etc. at comparatively low doses. At really high doses, nevertheless, the exposed can steal into a coma, respiratory depression, and decease.

4.7 Toxins

Toxins are those chemical compounds which are produced of course by populating beings such as Fungis, bacteriums, algae, etc. Although these compounds are topographic point at the underside of the list for earnestness in relation to chemical warfare agents, they are among the most deathly chemicals in the universe. Often, these compounds have a toxicity many times greater than the most serious and deathly semisynthetic chemical warfare agent, viz. the nervus agents. Why so are they placed at the underside? The logical thinking is that these toxins are difficult to bring forth in big adequate measures to be used as chemical warfare agents. This may alter, nevertheless, as progresss in biotechnology occur.

With the coming of new techniques of modifying the cistrons of life beings to obtain new terminal merchandises came the ability to besides bring on the production of more end merchandise. As an illustration, botulism toxin green goods by the bacteriums Clostridium botulinus is the most toxic substance to adult male, with less than one mcg doing certain decease. Within recent old ages, this bacterium has been modified to bring forth much larger measures of the toxin such that it can be gathered and marketed as a chemical to assistance in squinching, muscular upsets, and even cosmetically for cut downing the visual aspect of furrows. This same toxin could besides be gathered and used as a chemical warfare agent. Therefore, although natural toxins are still at the underside of the list, in the really near future they may so travel to the really top.

5.0 Decision

Human sort has throughout all of history used toxicants as a method to disable or kill enemies. It was non until this century, nevertheless, that deathly chemicals were used on such a big graduated table to assistance in the winning of wars. Over the old ages after these wars, our understanding and find of these deathly toxicants has increased greatly. With this, so excessively has the possible deadliness of these chemicals. It is unfortunate that this cognition which can besides be used for good intents can besides be used as a arm of great deadly force.

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