chapter  23
6 Pages

Guides for Emergency Response: Chemical Agent or Weapon: Distilled Mustard (H, HD)

Guides for Emergency Response: Chemical Agent or Weapon: Distilled Mustard (H, HD) Blister Agents: Th e vesicants have been widely used in diff erent types of combat since introduced during World War I. Th ey are vapor and liquid hazards to skin and mucous membranes. Mustard’s eff ects appear hours aft er the actual exposure, and most commonly aff ect skin, eyes, and airways. With exposure to large amounts of mustard, cells in the bone marrow are damaged. Within the military, blister agents are of the second level of concern just behind nerve agents that are of utmost concern. Th e primary threat blister agents are sulfur mustard (H/HD), Lewisite (L), and a mixture of mustard and Lewisite (HL). Mustard assumes major signifi cance because it is both lethal and incapacitating. Th at is, there were many casualties from mustard during World War I but only 3 percent of such casualties died, even though there were no antibiotics available at that time. Th e true danger of mustard is that a person exposed to a signifi cant amount of vapor or liquid mustard faces total systemic assault from failure of the body’s immune system, along with sepsis, infection, and pulmonary injury.