· Soman (GD)
Some agents are effective when absorbed through
the skin or eyes, but others must be inhaled. Tear agent
The V series is composed of agent VX.
(CN) primarily affects the eyes; tear agent (CS) affects
both the eyes and the upper respiratory tract. Blister
The physical properties of the G agents are similar
agents affect the internal as well as the external body
and are as follows:
surfaces. Vomiting agent adamsite (DM) and choking
· The GA is a colorless to brownish liquid, which
agent phosgene (CG) must enter the lungs to produce
gives off a colorless vapor.
· GB and GD are both colorless to light brown
The rate of detoxification is the rate at which the
liquids that give off colorless vapors.
body counteracts the effects of a chemical agent. It is
an important factor in determining the hazards of
· All three G agents normally are nonpersistent;
repeated exposure to sublethal doses of toxic chemical
however, GA and GD are longer lived than GB.
agents. Some agents are detoxified quite rapidly. Other
agents are detoxified very slowly, and their effects are
G agent poisoning displays approximately the
cumulative. The blood agents cyanogen chloride (CK)
same sequence of symptoms whether the agent enters
and hydrogen cyanide (AC) are detoxified rapidly, thus
the body by inhalation, absorption, or ingestion. These
requiring high concentration for maximum casualties.
symptoms, in usual order of appearance, are as
The nerve agent sarin (GB) is detoxified slowly and is
cumulative to a large degree. If 50 percent of a lethal
1. Runny nose
dose is received, only minor symptoms appear.
However, another 50 percent received within the next
2. Tightness of chest
few hours may cause death if no treatment is received.
3. Dimness of vision and pinpointing of the eye
The blister agent distilled mustard (HD) and the
pupils; difficulty in breathing
choking agent phosgene (CG) also are cumulative. A
10-minute exposure to either followed a few hours
later by a similar exposure has the same effect as one
5. Excessive sweating
20-minute exposure. Additionally, repeated exposure
to sublethal doses of HD can result in sensitivity to low
concentrations of the agent.
9. Involuntary defecation and urination
Nerve agents are not quickly and easily detected.
10. Twitching, jerking, and staggering
Small quantities can cause casualties and deaths
quickly. They may be colorless gases with little or no
11. Headache and confusion
odor or colorless to light brown liquids. These agents
radically disturb the chemical processes of the nervous
system, which impairs or stops other bodily functions.
Nerve agents can enter the body by inhalation,
ingestion, and absorption through the skin and eyes.
All of the above symptoms can take place in
Entry through the skin is extremely effective. This
30 seconds if the dose is sufficiently heavy. These
means that the protective mask alone is not adequate
symptoms are followed by cessation of breathing, then
protection because the agent can enter through any
death. Symptoms appear much more slowly from skin
dosage than from respiratory dosage. Although skin
absorption great enough to cause death may occur in
There are now two series or groups of nerve
1 to 2 minutes, death may be delayed for 1 to 2 hours.
agents--G series and V series.
Respiratory lethal dosages kill in 1 to 10 minutes, and
The G series agents include the following:
liquid in the eyes kills almost as rapidly. The number
· Tabun (GA)
and severity of symptoms that appear depend on the
quantity and rate of entry of the nerve agent into the
· Sarin (GB)