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‘the poor man’s atomic bomb’?

Why are we so afraid of chemical weapons? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 18, 2013 - 46 comments

The Deadliest Catch

The WMD was discovered, quite by chance, lying by the side of a Bridgeville road in late July by a Delaware state trooper on an unrelated callout. Jutting out of the ground, the 75mm shell was encrusted in barnacles and pitted with rust; barely recognisable as a munition at all. The trooper called in his find and a military team took the bomb to Dover Air Force Base for disposal. As with most conventional rounds, a small charge was placed on the side of the shell and detonated to trigger the vintage munition’s own explosive. But something went wrong, and the bomb failed to explode. When the two staff sergeants and technician walked over to inspect the failed detonation, they found a strange black liquid seeping out of the cracked mortar. Given that the shell had been under the sea for the better part of fifty years, the men thought little of the foul-smelling substance until hours later, when their skin began to erupt in agonising blisters. All three were rushed to Kent General hospital, where two were released later after minor treatment. A third, more seriously injured serviceman was transported to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, where he remained in serious but stable condition with what were only described as “burns or blisters” in a statement issued by the Army later that week. A scientific team were sent to Dover to collect soil samples from the area. The results were clear: the shell had been filled with mustard gas.
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 20, 2012 - 52 comments

The toxic environment in Washington DC

Hundreds of munitions and beakers with vintage chemical weapons, including "butter of arsenic" and lewisite, the "dew of death," are being dug up in Washington DC -- less than five miles from the White House (around American University). [more inside]
posted by msalt on May 21, 2010 - 32 comments

Be all that you can be

The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that military scientists tested hundreds of chemical and biological substances on them, including VX, tabun, soman, sarin, cyanide, LSD, PCP, and World War I-era blister agents like phosgene and mustard. The full scope of the tests, however, may never be known. As a CIA official explained to the GAO, referring to the agency's infamous MKULTRA mind-control experiments, "The names of those involved in the tests are not available because names were not recorded or the records were subsequently destroyed." Besides, said the official, some of the tests involving LSD and other psychochemical drugs "were administered to an undetermined number of people without their knowledge."
posted by Joe Beese on May 19, 2009 - 42 comments

Canada's forgotten weapons of mass destruction.

Canada's forgotten weapons of mass destruction. Shortly after the end of World War II, the Canadian navy began to dispose of its surplus chemical weapons by dumping them off the shore of Atlantic Canada. Large quantities of chemical agents, including mustard gas, were loaded onto barges and scuttled at undisclosed locations. Over 50 years later, some of these military dumpsites have become lost due to poor record keeping. With increasing offshore oil exploration and a commercially successful shellfish industry, there's a possibility that these forgotten chemical agents could return to the coasts of "Canada's Ocean Playground".
posted by Caffine_Fiend on Jan 13, 2003 - 14 comments

Two ways to destroy Chemical Weapons.

Two ways to destroy Chemical Weapons. When UNSCOM was in Iraq they destroyed in place tons of chemical weapons: VX, Sarin. and Mustard gas were burned out in the open. The effort to destroy the United States' aged chemical arsenal includes building special incinerators costing over 1.5 Billion Dollars each. If we didn't need them in Iraq why do we need them here? What's the difference? And now that the incinerators are ready for testing why is the goverment switching from burning to neutralization with water at three sites? Billion Dollar toilet seats?
posted by Mack Twain on Sep 27, 2002 - 7 comments

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