Dangers of Using Chemical and Biological Warfare

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 82
  • Published: November 30, 2009
Read full document
Text Preview
Chemical and biological warfare is the wartime use of chemicals, bacteria, viruses and toxins to seriously injure or kill soldiers and civilians (Chemical and Biological Warfare, 1999). The borderline between chemical and biological warfare agents has started to lose importance as a result of the rapid development of biotechnology (Chemical and Biological Warfare, 1999). Biotechnology has enabled the large-scale production of new types of substances (Chemical and Biological Warfare, 1999). Poisonous gases that are able to damage nerves, blood, or skin and lung tissues are one form of chemical weapons. Chemical agents may be volatile, which is they are able to evaporate rapidly to form clouds of the agent. Some chemical agents may be absorbed by skin or lungs, which cause injury. Some chemical agents are able to act directly on skin, lungs, and membranes (Null, 2003). As chemical weapons are dispersed they become less lethal. Some chemical agents are so strong that they exceed the toxicity of nerve agents by several orders of magnitude. In the long run chemical weapons may become an even more serious threat.

Biological warfare, often called "germ warfare", has never actually been employed on the battlefield (Chemical and Biological Warfare, 1999). An aerosol spray can is able to disperse a biological agent but the contents must be inhaled to have any effect. Biological warfare agents include both living microorganisms and toxins produced by microorganisms, plants, or animals (Null, 2003). A biological agent, if properly dispersed can be immensely destructive and lethal to plant, animals and humans. Biological agents have the ability to multiply and self perpetuate in the perfect environment. Food, water, and other products can be contaminated by biological agents. When biological weapons mutate it frustrates protective measures greatly. It is a fact that substantial amounts of biologically active weapons have been produced by various nations.

The dangers of chemical and biological agents are horrifying making them an even grater threat to worry about more than nuclear warfare. One danger that is happening right now is that the United States chemical and biological weapons thinking can be fairly said to lag that of the Russian's by a decade or more. If this is true, then this is a threat to the people living in the United States. The government used to think that chemical weapons posed only as a "battlefield" problem and biological weapons would only be used as an adjunct to general nuclear war, which was nothing to worry about (Germs: Biological Weapons and Americas Secret War, 2001). WAKE UP Government! Since 1969 the "conventional wisdom" was that chemical or biological weapons had no strategic value (Germs: Biological Weapons and Americas Secret War, 2001). We've already learned the United States Intelligence had seriously underestimated Iraq's chemical and biological warfare capabilities. UNSCOM discovered that Iraq had produced thousands of liters of many chemical and biological weapons. In 1995 Iraq admitted to having looked to build a biological warfare capability. And since then the U.S. accused Iraq for continuing their biological warfare programs. It was said that U.S. was wrong for accusing them of having any weapons of biological type. But found plenty of evidence after the attack on Iraq in 2003 to support the fact that Iraq was planning on redeveloping strong biological and chemical programs.

With all of this information it really is hard to find comprehensive data on chemical and biological weapons production. After studies of structure-activity relationships for certain toxins and substances produced within the human body, it is possible to develop modified and even more active substances. When pure toxin is compared to a very small dose of bacteria, it only takes a small dose of bacteria to achieve a full effect. Another scary point about bacteria is that as they multiply in the human body they are...
tracking img