a. Nerve Agents.
Nerve agents affect the nervous system. They are highly toxic in both vapor and liquid form. They are
very quick-acting when inhaled but act more slowly when absorbed through the skin. The types of
casualties caused by nerve agents may range from mild disability to death, depending the dose received,
and the adequacy and speed of decontamination and first aid.
b. Blister Agents.
Blister agents affect the eyes and lungs and blister the skin. They are absorbed through the skin. Signs
of injury often do not appear for several hours. However, blister agents, Lewisite and Phosgene Oxime,
cause immediate pain and irritation.
c. Blood Agents.
Blood agents affect the ability of the body cells to absorb oxygen. They cause symptoms ranging from
convulsions to coma. They enter the body by inhalation. A person who receives a high dose may
become unconscious and die within a few minutes.
d. Choking Agents.
Choking agents attack the lungs and respiratory system. They enter the body by inhalation. They
produce immediate symptoms of coughing, tears, nausea, and choking. Delayed effects occur after 2 to
4 hours. Delayed effects are: painful cough, fever, fatigue, rapid and shallow breathing, shock, and
Levels of Negligible Risk.
You must consider decontamination if contamination exceeds negligible risk levels. Negligible risk
no more than 5 percent of unprotected soldiers who operate for 12 continuous hours within 1 meter of
contaminated surfaces. Measurements that determine safe levels are made with detection equipment.
Any chemical contamination detectable by currently fielded equipment should be considered unsafe and
in excess of negligible risk levels.
This level of radiation will cause no more than 2.5 percent mild incapacitation to unprotected soldiers.