Hazards of Chemical Weapons Release during War:...
The two major dasses of chemical weapons are mustard gas and the nerve gases. Although both types are commonly called gases, they are actually rather viscous liquids that are not remarkably volatile. What is remarkable is that these agents were designed to harm people by any route of exposure and to be effective at low doses. It is also noteworthy that these major agent classes havenot changed in over 50 years .
What has changed recently is our perception of the potency of the chemical agents (3), the inclusion of more women in the military, and the likelihood that targets may include civilians (4). We have also become concerned with the nonlethal, persistent, and delayed effects that may be produced.
These issues are put into better perspective with some background knowledge of the effects of chemical weapons on humans, particularly via routes of exposure likely to be encountered following wartime release.