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Top 10 Chemical Weapons

Written by Top 100 Arena on 2012-08-14
Chemical warfare is nothing new. In fact, it had been in use since 4000BC. During the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BC, Spartans used sulphur bombs to overcome their enemies. Since then, history has seen one form or another of chemical and biological weapons. Humans are very creative and ingenius in exploring and creating more lethal ways to destroy one another. While fueling our desire for bloodshed, mankind has created some of the most fearsome and formidable chemical weapons which can cause horrifying death or inflict serious injuries to any victims. What makes things more scary is that it doesn't take an army to engage in an chemical warfare. All it takes is a group of madmen with access to chemical weapons, and they can cause really serious damage in any part of the world. Fortunately, we don't hear chemical attacks very commonly nowadays. However, we believe that knowing existing chemical weapons will help us somehow in case of emergency. With that in mind, we present you our list of top 10 chemical weapons.

10 Agent Orange

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It is the code name for one of the defoliants and herbicides used by the U.S army as part of its chemical warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was mainly created to destroy the food crops and natural inhabitat, and thus disrupting food supply. But it was later found that the chemical used also caused extremely harmful effect on humans. As a result, about 400,000 Vietnamese were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children were born with birth defects. It was manufactured by U.S Department of Defense, primarily by Monsanto Corp and Dow Chemical, the compound includes 50:50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. However, it was later discovered that the 2,4,5-T used was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, which is an extremely toxic dioxin compound. This chemical weapon got its name from the color of the barrels in which it was shipped. More info

9 Bertholite

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Commonly known as Chlorine, it was a chemical weapon used mainly in WWI and Iraq War. Under concentration of 0.2 parts per million (ppm), it is detectable with measuring devices. At 3 ppm, the smell is a tell. If concentration is at 30 ppm, it can cause coughing and vomiting while 60 ppm can cause lung damage. If it is used at 1,000 ppm, a few breaths of the gas can be very lethal. It doesn't only affect the respiratory system as exposure to Bertholite gas also can irritate the eyes. When humans inhaled chlorine at concentrations higher than 30 ppm, it begins to react with water and cells inside our bodies, which change it into HCl and HCl0 acids that cause all kind of damages within our body. More info

8 Phosgene

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Basically a chemical compound with the formula C0Cl2, Phosgene is a colorless gas and used during the WWI by various countries as part of their secret chemical warfare programs. It was also used in the war against China by Japanese. Till now, certain countries still possess stocks of this gas. More info on Wikipedia

7 Lewisite

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An organoarsenic compound, Lewisite is specifically an arsine. It was once manufactured by U.S and Japan as a chemical weapon. Lewisite is very lethal and can easily penetrate ordinary clothing as well as rubber. Once it touches human's skin, it will cause immediate extreme pain and itching with a swelling and rash. After 12 hours, large, fluid-filled blisters will develop as a symptom of severe chemical burns. Higher amount of absorption will cause systemic poisoning leading to death or liver necrosis. Inhaling Lewisite can cause a burning pain, vomiting, sneezing, coughing and pulmonary edema. Ingestion will cause nausea, vomiting, and tissue damage. Eye exposure can cause scarring of the cornea and blistering. More info on Wikipedia

6 Sulfur Mustard

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Commonly known as mustard gas, sulfur mustards are a class of cytotoxic and vesicant chemical agents. The gas has very powerful vesicant effects on victims. Victims will develop symptoms such as intense itching and skin irritation after 24 hours of exposure. The irritation will then turns into large blisters filled with yellow fluid. If inhaled at high concentrations, it can cause internal bleeding and blistering within the respiratory system and causing pulmonary edema. Germans used it for first time in 1917 against the British soldiers, but since then numerous usages of sulfur mustard have been reported throughout the history during a lot of war. More info on Wikipedia

5 Vomitting Agents

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This category of chemical weapons include 3 main chemicals called Adamsite (DM), Diphenylcyanoarsine (DC) and Diphenylchlorarsine (DA). They are colorless and smell like garlic, and can cause serious headaches, vomitting and nausea. World War I first saw the use of these chemical agents. More info

4 Nerve Agents

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This group comprises of highly toxic chemical warfare agents, and mainly developed just before and during World War II. The principle chemicals in this group are Tabun (GA), Soman (GD), Cyclosarin (GF), Sarin (GB) and Methylphosphonothioic Acid (VX). What's really scary about these nerve agents are that death usually occur within 15 minutes of absorption, and fatal dosage is only slightly larger than those producing least effects. If any of these chemicals touch human skin, then death maybe delayed for 1 to 2 hours. Breathing in can kill within 1 to 10 minuts, while eye exposure can kill almost instantly. More info on Wikipedia

3 Blister or Vesicant Agents

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Although not designed to kill, chemicals in this group can produce massive casualties when high amount of dosage is used. Full protective gears may prevent from direct contact of these chemical agents, but it also lowers down fighting efficiency of military troops. If the blister agents are used in very high concentration, then they can contaminate ships, terrain, aircraft, vehicles or equipment with a persistent hazard. Once exposed to these chemicals, it will develop first degree or second degree burns as well as blisters on any part of the body they contact. More info

2 Choking Agents

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These chemical agents attack lung tissue and respiratory system, causing pulmonary edema. They are also called lung damaging agents.The chemicals in this group are Diphosgene (DP), Chlorine (Cl) and Chloropicrin (PS). Immediately after exposure, you will develop symptoms like choking, coughing, a feeling of tightness in the chest, occasional vomiting and nausea. You will also experience severe headache and lachrymation too. Even without one or more of these symptoms presence, immediate diagnosis and treatment is critically important. Some victims with severe coughs didn't develop serious lung injury, while some showing little sign of symptoms develop fatal pulmonary edema. After exposure, victims might not develop any symptoms within 2 to 24 hours. However, afterwards symptoms of pulmonary edema will start to develop. If not treated and monitored under close supervision, the victims can die within 48 hours. If they survive more than 48 hours, they will usually recover. More info

1 Nuclear Weapon

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We really don't need to introduce you to this one. Among all chemical agents, a nuclear weapon has most destructive power as it is in fact a bomb made from nuclear reactions. A place contaminated by nuclear explosion is persistently hazardous for hundreds of years. More info on Wikipedia

Chemical weapons are equally scary as bioweapons. While scientific advances bring many benefits to mankind, it also brings new means of destruction to us. We can only hope that governments and law enforcement organizations will always be able to prevent mad scientists and nutjobs from bringing Apocalypse to Earth. But are they really protecting us as we hope and believe? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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