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Chemical Weapons

Introduction to chemical weapons. This presentation explains the most important CW, the international treaties that have been signed, and in which situation are them nowadays.

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Chemical Weapons

  1. 1.  DEFINITION.  MOST IMPORTANT CHEMICAL WEAPONS: o Vesicant agents: Sulfur mustard. o Nerve agents: Sarin gas. o Agent Orange. o White phosphorus. o CW used by the nazis.  INTERANATIONAL TREATIES AGAINST THEM.  CHEMICAL WEAPONS NOWADAYS.
  2. 2.  Chemical weapons are weapons that use the toxic properties of chemical substances to kill, injure or incapacitate the enemy.  They are considered to be massive destruction weapons by the UN.  Don’t confuse with bacteriological weapons: bacteria, viruses, protozoa, parasites or fungi.
  3. 3.  They attack the skin  irritation and appearance of very painful and long-lasting blisters.  Chocking.  CHRONIC EFFECTS: they damage sight and have genetic consequences in the long-term.  They normally don’t produce death.  After the exposure: take all the clothes out and clean the body with hot water. It’s also recommendable to detoxify the skin with some detergents or hydroxide compounds.  Examples of this type of agents: SULFUR MUSTARD and LEWISITE.
  4. 4. • The first time that it was used was in the IWW, where 90.000 people died intoxicated. • Rif War (1921-27): the Spanish Army of Africa launched it against the Berbers (indigenous people of the North of Africa). • Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45): Japan used it against the Chinese. • Iraq-Iran War (1980-88): Both countries used it.
  5. 5.  They contain phosphoric acid  it blocks an enzyme that reduces the activity of a neurotransmitter this causes: o Muscular spasms. o The people who breathe the gas weep, salivate, urinate and defecate involuntarily. o Vomits, diarrhea, tachycardia, loss of consciousness, etc.  After the exposition: it’s necessary to inject anticonvulsants to the affected people to reduce the effects, in order to reactivate the enzyme functioning.  They usually provoke death.  Examples: Sarin gas, VX, tabun,…
  6. 6. It has been used in the IRAQ-IRAN WAR, in Tokyo (1995) and in Syria (2013).
  7. 7.  It was used in the Vietnam War (1955-75) by the USA as a herbicide and defoliant.  The chemical was contaminated with a dioxin, which can cause cancer and birth defects.  Consequences:  1 million people affected.  150,000 children with malformations.  Deforestation.
  8. 8.  It provokes serious burns.  Other initial symptoms: breathing it provokes abdominal burning heat, vomits, sweating and muscular cramps.  Some days after the exposition: more hemorrhages, icterus, it affects the heart (arrhythmia) and it usually provokes death.  Where has it been used? o Gaza (Palestine) in 2009 o Iraq-Iran War
  9. 9.  Used in gas chambers.  Most common agents: o Carbon monoxide. o Hydrogen cyanide.  Symptoms: first they suffered choking, then they defecated and urinated involuntarily, after that they lost their consciousness, they went into a coma and finally they died.  So, they didn’t die immediately: it took them around 20-25 minutes to die.
  10. 10. INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AGAINST THEM • 1907: Second Hague Gas Declaration banned poisoned weapons. • 1925: Geneva Protocol banned the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons. • 1993 (in force since 1997): Chemical Weapons Convention banned the development, production, storage, trade and use of CW.
  11. 11. INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AGAINST THEM • The international implementation of the CWC is overseen by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). o Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
  12. 12. CHEMICAL WEAPONS NOWADAYS • Since the creation of the OPCW, more than 80% of the declared CW have been destroyed. • Recently, Sarin gas has been used in Syria. In one of the attacks, more than 1400 people died. Some months ago the OPCW confirmed the presence of chemical agents, so it obliged the Syrian government to give their CW to the International Community. The government gave up and since some weeks ago, the UN are taking those weapons out from Syria.
  13. 13. THE END? Salva Fuentes Lucas-Torres 1º Bach. B