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Nerve Agent Antidotes in the 90's: A Change in Paradigm

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Conference paper

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Nerve agent organophosphate detection, symptom identification, and treatment has long been a priority for US military forces, agent storage depots, demil facilities, and now is becoming an issue at formerly used defense sites FUDS or in the case of Rocky Mountain Arsenal RMA, a former production facility, where these agents had been stored, tested, or disposed of and which is currently undergoing environmental remediation. Protecting workers who may be potentially exposed to acute or chronic releases of nerve agents during demilitarization or environmental clean up operations are one of my many responsibilities as the Safety Manager Industrial Hygienist for RMA. FUDS and inactive installations like RMA pose a unique set of problems when chemical munitions or agent contaminated piping or vessels are encountered. RMA, like other inactive installations or FUD sites undergoing environmental restoration, does not have an active chemical mission and lack the supporting infrastructure for emergency response, trained back up chemical workers, onsite medical staff, etc. which most storage depots and chemical demilitarization facilities have available to respond to a chemical event. RMA does have an advantage over most FUD sites and other locations where chemicals and in particular, suspect nerve agent munitions may be found. Our facility has a fully instrumented and staffed Environmental Laboratory who have an extensive background in agent chemistry and we have two operational Real Time Analytical Platforms RTAPs which can respond to sample suspect agent found during remediation. The lack of these onsite resources makes it imperative that we, the risk managers, be able to find and evaluate, not only new detection and protective devices, but also new and improved methods of treating potential chemical agent casualties, especially nerve agent casualties at future FUD sites and other locations like RMA.

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  • Weapons Effects (Biological)
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

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