June 22, 2024

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Most Toxic War Agents – US Destroys Last Chemical Weapons – News

Most Toxic War Agents – US Destroys Last Chemical Weapons – News

  • The US has destroyed the last of its chemical weapons.
  • This means that 26 years after the Chemical Weapons Convention went into effect, the United States officially has no highly toxic warfare agents.

“I am proud to announce that the United States has safely destroyed the last of this stockpile — bringing us one step closer to a world free of the horrors of chemical weapons,” President Biden said. It marks a milestone 26 years after the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention.


Two American soldiers test the effectiveness of their gas masks (Picture 04/07/2028).

Reuters/Handout der US-Army

Chemical weapons are responsible for some of the world’s worst human casualties, said Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has championed disarmament during his tenure. “Although the use of these deadly agents will forever be a stain on history, our nation has finally fulfilled its promise to rid our weapons of this evil.” McConnell is a senator from the US state of Kentucky, which has a weapons destruction facility.

193 contracting states have committed themselves to the ban

In 1997, the 193 states of the Chemical Weapons Convention pledged to report and destroy all their stockpiles of chemical weapons, and not to use chemical weapons. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague, oversees their implementation. Since 1997, more than 70,000 tons of deadly weapons such as mustard gas and sarin have been destroyed. In the United States, about 127 tons are still waiting to be destroyed.

Some of the most shocking attacks on humans in history have come from chemical weapons. According to the OPCW, chemical warfare agents were used in World War I. By the end of the war, around 100,000 people had died as a result. Over the past ten years, Syrian government troops have repeatedly used banned warfare agents in the civil war – in 2018 alone more than 40 people were killed in a heavy attack on the city of Douma.

Chlorine gas, mustard gas and sarin

Chlorine gas, mustard gas and sarin are some of the most popular chemical weapons. If you inhale the smelly chlorine gas, it can attack the trachea and lungs. In high concentrations, it leads to suffocation and eventually a painful death. Cytotoxin mustard gas burns mucous membranes, eyes and respiratory tract. Neurological disorders are also possible. Mustard gas was also known as Lost, Yaberite and Yellow Cross. Along with Tabun, Soman and VX, sarin is one of the most toxic nerve gases. It is absorbed by inhalation and through the skin and can cause respiratory paralysis and cardiac arrest within minutes.

When chemical weapons are suspected to have been used in conflict situations, the OPCW sends investigators to the country concerned. The Commission also regularly examines the chemical industry in contracting states. North Korea, Egypt and South Sudan are states that have not signed the convention. Israel has signed the Convention, but has not yet ratified it. The OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its work. As of late May, 99 percent of all chemical weapons in the 193 signatory countries have now been destroyed.

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