Valdosta Daily Times

August 22, 2013

What is a chemical weapon?


The Washington Post

— Experts generally recognize seven categories of chemical agents used to expose disable or kill people.



Choking agents: Injure the nose, throat and lungs. Inhalation causes lungs to bleed, drowning victim. Examples: Chlorine gas, phosgene gas



Blister agents: Severely burn and blister the skin or respiratory tract. Examples: Mustard gas, lewisite



Blood agents: Inhibit the ability of blood cells to absorb oxygen, causing suffocation. Examples: Cyanide compounds, arsenic compounds



Nerve agents: Enter body through skin or lungs. Rapidly disrupt the transmission of nerve impulses. Examples: Sarin, tabun, soman



Riot control agents: Eye, skin and respiratory-tract irritants. Can be fatal in concentrated doses. Examples: Tear gas (CS gas or CN gas)



Incapacitants: Cause psychotic disorders, including incapacitation and an inability to make decisions. Examples: LSD, BZ, PCP



Defoliants: Destroy vegetative cover and crops and can cause nerve damage. Examples: Agent orange, paraquat



Sources: Staff reports, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons