History of chemical and biological warfare agents

Toxicology
Ladislaus Szinicz

Abstract

Chemical and biological warfare agents constitute a low-probability, but high-impact risk both to the military and to the civilian population. The use of hazardous materials of chemical or biological origin as weapons and for homicide has been documented since ancient times. The first use of chemicals in terms of weapons of mass destruction goes back to World War I, when on April 22, 1915 large amounts of chlorine were released by German military forces at Ypres, Belgium. Until around the 1970s of the 20th century, the awareness of the threat by chemical and biological agents had been mainly confined to the military sector. In the following time, the development of increasing range delivery systems by chemical and biological agents possessors sensitised public attention to the threat emanating from these agents. Their proliferation to the terrorists field during the 1990s with the expanding scale and globalisation of terrorist attacks suggested that these agents are becoming an increasing threat to the whole world community. The following article gives a condensed overview on the history of use and development of the more prominent chemical and biological warfare agents.

References


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Citations

Feb 27, 2014·Environmental Science & Technology·Lushi LianErnest R Blatchley
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