Choking agents include:
- Hydrogen chloride
- Phosphorus (certain forms)
These agents attack the respiratory system, making it difficult to breathe.
- Chlorine is used in industry and is found in bleach and other common household products.
- Chlorine can take a gas or yellow-green liquid form.
- Chlorine emits a strong odor, which is like the odor of bleach, and can become explosive and flammable when mixed with other chemicals.
Chlorine as a Weapon
- Chlorine is most likely to be released as a gas.
- It can be released into the air and spreads rapidly.
- Chlorine settles close to the ground.
- In liquid form, it can be released into the water or food supply.
- Chlorine was used in World War II as a chemical weapon.
- Terrorists may attempt to access large quantities stored at water treatment facilities, swimming pool complexes, and industrial sites.
Symptoms of exposure include:
- Coughing and tightness in the chest
- Burning eyes, nose, and throat
- Blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting
- Blistered skin
- Shortness of breath and fluid in the lungs
- Long-term complications, including pneumonia and chronic bronchitis
Chlorine Diagnosis and Treatment
- Air sampling is conducted to confirm a release.
- No antidote exists.
- Supplemental oxygen should be given as needed.
- Immediate medical treatment is essential.
Lessening the Impact of Chlorine Exposure
- Move away from the site of exposure immediately, and move to higher ground for fresh air.
- Remove outer layer of clothing, place it in a plastic bag, and seal as soon as possible.
- Immediately wash body thoroughly with soap and water.
- Flush irritated eyes with plain water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- If you have ingested chlorine, do not induce vomiting or drink fluids.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Phosgene is also known as CG.
- Phosgene is an industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides.
- Phosgene is a poisonous gas at room temperature.
- When cooled, phosgene is converted into liquid form.
- In a liquid release or spill, phosgene changes to gas and stays close to the ground.
- Phosgene may appear colorless or as a white or pale-yellow cloud.
- In low concentrations, phosgene smells like newly mown hay.
- In high doses, phosgene has a strong unpleasant odor.
- Phosgene can cause flammable substances to burn but is not flammable itself.
- Phosgene is not found naturally in the environment.
- Phosgene may be relatively easy to obtain since it is used in industry.
Phosgene as a Weapon
- Phosgene was used extensively during World War I by both German and Allied armies, causing many deaths.
- Phosgene could be released into the air.
- Phosgene liquid could be released into water to expose those who drink it or touch it.
- Phosgene could be used in liquid form to poison food.
- In gas or liquid form, phosgene can damage the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.
- Proximity to a release and the length of exposure determine how serious the phosgene illness is.
- Symptoms may occur immediately after exposure if doses are extremely high. These include:
Burning sensation in the throat and eyes
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Nausea and vomiting
With skin contact, possible development of lesions similar to those from frostbite or burns
Within two to six hours after exposure to high doses of phosgene, possible development of fluid in the lungs(pulmonary edema)
- Exposure to low or moderate concentrations of phosgene may have few early clinical findings. Development of worsening signs and symptoms may occur 12 to 24 hours after the initial exposure. Delayed symptoms may surface up to 48 hours after exposure. These include:
Coughing up white- to pink-tinged fluid and developing fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
Low blood pressure
Severe respiratory distress