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Blood Agents Throughout History Essay

1142 words - 5 pages

Blood Agents Throughout History
The utilization of chemical weapons during war has been in use since the beginning of time. The first time chemical warfare was use dates back to 600 B.C where Greek soldiers would poison the water reservoirs of their enemies. During 423 B.C. the Spartan soldiers used sulfur to attack Greece. Later on, in 673 C.E. the Greek navy was infamous for using burning chemical in the open sea, creating a floating fire wall allowing them to earn maneuver superiority. The use of chemical warfare continued throughout the middle ages where the Mongolian army used catapults to throw burning sulfur to their enemies. Chemical warfare became weapons of mass destruction during WWI, during the war, over one million casualties were reported and over 90 thousand were killed (Fitzgerald, 2008). Since WW I chemical weapons have been utilized in the battlefield, most noticeable during the Iraq and Iran war in 1980. World Powers have realized that chemical warfare, even though it provides an enormous advantage in the battlefield, it also comes with years of secondary effects and could become an immense financial burden.
Types of Chemical Agents
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has categorized the types of most commonly used chemical agents. The CDC also acts as an informational pool for the civilian population to understand the effects, symptoms and treatment of each chemical agent. The CDC categorized chemical agents under the following categories or types: biotoxins, blister agents/vesicants, blood agents, caustics (Acids), choking/lung/pulmonary agents, incapacitating agents, long-acting anticoagulants, metals, nerve agents, organic solvents, riot control agents/tear gas, toxic alcohols, and vomiting agents (CDC, 2014). All these chemical agents are harmful to humans; these chemical agents can have latent effects in the human body and can actually cause death. From that big group of chemical agents, this report will concentrate on the Blood Agents.
Blood agents are agents that are poisons that affect the body by being absorbed into the blood (CDC, 2014). Blood agents usually enter the body through inhalation, once inside the body, blood agents do not allow the blood cells to transfer/carry oxygen causing the body to suffocate. Blood agents are sub characterized in four categories which are arsine, carbon monoxide, cyanide, and sodium monofluoroacetate (CDC, 2014). Blood agents like many other chemical agents are used in combat and these chemicals are generally fabricated/created with other purposes in mind. For example, Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and cyanide salts are used in many industries including chemical production, metal extraction, and electroplating (Leikin, 2008, p 267).
One of the main reasons terrorist groups or foreign enemies prefer to use blood agents, is due to their lethal effects even if expose in low concentrations. Also, blood agents can be easily spread through virtually any structure or enclosed location....

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