Types of Chemical Weapons A chemical agent is a substance which is intended for use in military operations to kill, seriously injure or incapacitate people because of its physiological effects. Excluded from this definition are riot control agents, herbicides, smoke, and flame.
A common conception of a chemical weapon (CW) is of a toxic chemical contained in a delivery system such as a bomb or artillery shell. While technically correct, a definition based on this conception would only cover a small portion of the range of things the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) prohibits as ‘chemical weapons’.
Chemical weapons first were used in 1915, when the German military released 168 tons of chlorine gas at Ypres, Belgium, killing an estimated 5,000 Allied troops. Two years later, the same battlefields saw the first deployment of sulfur mustard. Sulfur mustard was the major cause of …
Often referred to as the “ poor man’s bomb ,” chemical weapons require a relatively low investment, can cause severe psychological and physical effects and are agents of disruption.
But since the Sept. 11 attacks on America, the threat of chemical weapons looms larger in many minds. Like nuclear weapons, chemicals are considered weapons of mass destruction.
Types of Chemical Weapons The first part of the definition states that all toxic chemi-cals and their precursors, except when used for pur-poses permitted by the CWC in specified quantities, are chemical weapons. Toxic chemicals are defined as ‘any chemical which through its chemical action on life