Journal club of the week: about chemical weapon

Speaker: Fazlullah Khan the PhDs

Date: 4th of April, 2016

Topic: about chemical weapon, its risks for the people

 In the today's journal meeting on 4th of April, 2016, different types of agents which might be used as chemical or biological weapons were discussed. The topic was mostly concerned about chemical weapon, its risks for the people and the environment and how it leads to mass destruction. Since the end of World War II, there have been a number of treaties dealing with the limitations, reductions, and elimination of so-called weapons of mass destruction and/or their transport systems (generally called delivery systems). The history of chemical weapons dates back to a 1675 Franco-German accord signed in Strasbourg. Then came the Brussels Convention in 1874 to prohibit the use of poison or poisoned weapons. During the First Hague Peace Appeal in 1899, the Hague Convention elaborated on the Brussels accord by prohibiting the use of projectiles that would diffuse “asphyxiating or deleterious” gases. This Convention was reinforced during the second Hague conference in 1907, but prohibitions were largely ignored during World War I. At the battle of Ypres/Belgium, canisters of chlorine gas were exploded in April 1915 by Germany, which killed 5,000 French troops and injured 15,000. During World War I all parties used an estimated 124,000 tons of chemicals in warfare. Mustard gas – “the king of battle gases” – then used on both sides in 1917 killed 91,000 and injured 1.2 million, accounting for 80% of the chemical casualties (death or injury). Chemical weapons caused about 3 percent of the estimated 15 million casualties on the Western Front. It was also described that chemical weapons were used against Iran soldiers as well as Iraqi civilians between 1980 and 1988 by Saddam Hussain. Different classes of chemical weapons with respective sign and symptoms and mechanism of action were discussed such as nerve agents, blister agents, etc. The CWC prohibits disposal by dumping into a body of water, land burial or open-pit burning, and requires that the chosen technology destroys the chemical agent in an irreversible manner that also protects the safety of humans and the environment. Ethics, politics and international security should be closely interlaced to remove these inhuman weapons from the earth. There is an excellent opportunity for fruitful collaboration between defense conversion sector and the environmental community. Prof Abdollahi put light on the whole lecture presented by Fazlullah Khan the PhDs and gave a brief summary. He also talked about OPCW that is responsible for the prohibition of chemical weapons.