THE THREAT OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS TO HUMANITY
After 9-11 -2001 there is a fear that the next major terrorist attack could be more lethal and that terrorist must use nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Although some scientists point out that the technological obstacles to deliver these weapons ate formidable, the chances are always there. In 1993 in Chechanya, saboteurs left a package of highly radioactive cesium in Parle, Moscow. Though, the authorities managed to avert a disaster. The incident alerted the security expert all over the world to review the odds of terrorist nuclear attack. Suitcase nuclear bomb are doing its rounds. Moreover a suicide attack on a nuclear power plant could breach the reactors dome and set off and unshielded melt down that could cause a radioactive disaster with widespread fallout and many casualties.
Here is the brief list of biological, chemical and nuclear agents that could be used.
Chemical Agents—while some toxic agents are commercially available and can be dispersed with a simple trick, others are more technically challenging.
Mustard Gas— first used as a weapon W.W.I. It causes blisters and can be fatal if inhaled. The chemical ingredient area hard to obtain.
Hydrogen Gas—a blood agent used worldwide to manufacture acrylic polymers. Reportedly used during the Iran-Iraq war.
Sarin—a nerve agent developed during II world war. It causes respiratory failure. In 1995, a Japanese cult killed 12 people in a Tokyo subway with it.
Soman—this nerve agent made up much of former Soviet Union’s Chemical Arsenal.
C.S.—internationally the most widely used tear gas for riot control can be lethal if inhaled in very high concentrations.
Phosgene—Also chocking agents, it is the most dangerous of the group and accounted for 80% of all the chemical deaths during World War II.
Biological Agents—Contain bacteria, virus and toxins and could be used as weapons though most agents are difficult to process into lethal forms.
Anthrax—Infectious disease most likely to be spread by aerosol. It causes respiratory failures and deaths. Antibiotics help only if given early.
Plague—could be delivered via contaminated vector like fleas or by aerosol. Vaccines exist but their effect against aerosolized plague is unknown.
Botulinum—this toxin can cause respiratory failure and death but lethal stains are hard to grow and weaponries.
Brucellosis—Mostly disease found in cattle and can be spread by aerosol not transmittable by humans.
Cholera—the bacteria are stable in water and could be used to contaminate water reservoirs and can be treated by antibiotics.
Smallpox—eradicated in 1977, this highly contagious virus officially exists in two labs in US and Russia. It is very hard to grow.
Radioactive Agents—Terrorists could resort to using smuggled nuclear materials to make crude bombs.
Plutonium—a fissile material used to make nuclear weapon easier.
Cesium—One of the more commonly materials but is not considered weapons grade. Cobalt used in medical laboratories is relatively easy to smuggle and could be dangerous.
Uranium 235—highly enriched uranium is very dangerous and is also used in making nuclear weapons.