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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

File: 970613_ww35_90a_mic_txt_0001.txt
Page: 0001
Total Pages: 1

[b.2]
SUBJECT:  AFMIC SPECIAL WEEKLY WIRE 35-90A (U)
1. (U) THIS SPECIAL WIRE IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE CLARIFICATION AND 
FURTHER DISSEMINATION OF MEDICAL INTELLIGENCE ON A SUBJECT OF CURRENT 
INTEREST. CLINICAL REVIEW HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY THE AFMIC-SG,
[b.6]
2.        IRAQ: USE OF VESICANT AGENT PHOSGENE OXIME (CX)        
       IRAQI USE OF A VESICANT AGENT DURING THE IRAN/IRAQ WAR WAS 
RECENTLY DESCRIBED        [b.6]                                                
                 STATED THAT THE AGENT HAD BEEN USED SEVERAL TIMES 
DURING THE WAR; HOWEVER, THIS REPORT HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED.
ALTHOUGH 
 [b.6] REFERRED TO THE AGENT AS PHOSGENE, THE DESCRIBED SYMPTOMS 
THAT RESULTED FROM USE OF THE AGENT WERE CLASSIC FOR PHOSGENE OXIME 
(CX; DICHLOROFORMOXIME). REPORTEDLY, THE SYMPTOMS WERE IMMEDIATE 
TEARING OF THE EYES, EXPOSED AREA TURNING WHITE WITHIN 30 SECONDS 
WITH A RED CIRCLE AROUND THE WHITE AREA, SWELLING OF THE AFFECTED 
AREA, CHANGE IN COLOR OF THE AFFECTED AREA FROM WHITE TO BROWN WITHIN 
20 TO 24 HOURS, AND THE BROWN AREA OF INJURY PROGRESSING INTO AN OPEN 
WOUND WITHIN 7 DAYS. PHOSGENE IS NOT A VESICANT; IT IS A CHOKING 
AGENT AND PRODUCES RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS. CX IS AN IRRITANT TO MUCOUS 
MEMBRANES OF THE EYES AND NOSE. 
(U) CX PRODUCES IMMEDIATE SYMPTOMATOLOGY, WHILE SULFUR MUSTARD HAS A 
LATENT PERIOD OF 15 MINUTES TO SEVERAL HOURS DEPENDING ON DISPERSAL
METHOD, ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS, AND EXPOSURE DOSE. AN EXPOSURE TO 
CX LIQUID OR VAPOR THAT PRODUCES PAIN WILL ALSO PRODUCE SKIN NECROSIS 
AT THE SITE OF CONTACT. CX REACTS RAPIDLY WITH TISSUE (WITHIN 
SECONDS), BUT IMMEDIATE DECONTAMINATION CAN REDUCE THE EXTENT OF THE 
INJURY BY DECREASING AGENT TISSUE CONCENTRATION. THOROUGH 
DECONTAMINATION WILL ALSO PREVENT CONTAMINATION OF HEALTH CARE 
PERSONNEL. THE EXPOSED SKIN ULTIMATELY ULCERATES. IMMEDIATELY, IT 
BLANCHES WITH A SURROUNDING ERYTHEMATOUS RING WITHIN 30 SECONDS. THE 
SWELLING OR WHEAL APPEARS WITHIN 30 MINUTES AND DEVELOPS A BROWN 
PIGMENTATION WITHIN 24 HOURS. THE ESCHAR (SCAB) FORMS WITHIN A WEEK,
AND GENERALLY SLOUGHS WITHIN 3 WEEKS IF SECONDARY INFECTION DOES NOT 
OCCUR. SLOW HEALING (2 MONTHS OR MORE) OCCURS IN APPROXIMATELY 20 
PERCENT OF CASUALTIES. 
(U) ABOVE 39 DEGREES CELSIUS, CX IS A LIQUID WITH AN UNPLEASANT, 
VIOLENTLY IRRITATING ODOR THAT IS SOLUBLE IN ORGANIC SOLVENTS AND 
DISSOLVES SLOWLY IN WATER. PURE MATERIAL IS STABLE ONLY 1 TO 2 
MONTHS; METALS AND OTHER IMPURITIES MAY CAUSE EXPLOSIVE 
DECOMPOSITION. HOWEVER, PURE MATERIAL IS STABLE IN AROMATIC SOLVENTS. 
CX HAS A VAPOR PRESSURE OF 11.2 MILLIMETERS OF MERCURY AT 25 DEGREES
CELSIUS FOR SOLID AND 13 MILLIMETERS OF MERCURY AT 40 DEGREES CELSIUS 
FOR LIQUID AGENT. CX IS CORROSIVE TO MOST METALS, RELATIVELY 
NONPERSISTENT ON SURFACES AND IN WATER, AND PERSISTENT 2 HOURS OR 
LESS IN SOIL. THE ESTIMATED MEDIAN LETHAL DOSAGE VIA INHALATION IS 
3,200 MILLIGRAMS PER MINUTE PER CUBIC METER. THE THRESHOLD 
CONCENTRATION CAUSING IRRITATION IS 1 MILLIGRAM PER CUBIC METER WITH 
AN EXPOSURE OF 10 SECONDS. REPORTEDLY, SKIN IRRITATION CAUSED BY CX 
IS QUITE PAINFUL AT A CONCENTRATION OF 3 MILLIGRAMS PER CUBIC METER. 
CX DOES NOT PENETRATE PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. 
[b.6.]
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