Sarin Nerve Gas: A Rationale for Vigilance Amidst War and Peace
HARVARD UNIV BOSTON MA
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Today more than ever, the world remains vulnerable to the deliberate use of chemical agents as weapons of mass destruction. The World Health Organization WHO and other international organizations have already made efforts to upgrade preparedness for chemical incidents, such as industrial and domestic accidents. However, many existing emergency preparedness plans have not been developed for response to terrorist attacks. The challenge remains to identify and implement the additional actions needed to allow relevant international organizations to fulfill their public health role in relation to the deliberate use of chemical agents to cause harm. Chemical warfare has existed for millennia. As far back as 1000 BC, the Chinese used arsenical smoke as a weapon. 2 In the last century, chemical agents have been used in warfare on numerous occasions, from World War I to the Iran-Iraq conflict. While many military physicians routinely receive training in the management of chemical and environmental catastrophes, such training has not been widely disseminated to civilians until recently.
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare