by inhalation, ingestion, or through the skin, affect the body functions by
reacting with an enzyme (cholinesterase) throughout the body, permitting
accumulation of a stimulator (acetylcholine). The major effects are those
on the voluntary nervous system, e.g., muscle stimulation with uncoordinated
contractions; followed by fatigue and eventual paralysis; those on the
constriction; nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; secretion of the glands of the
nose, mouth, bronchi, and gastrointestinal system; and those on the central
nervous system, e.g., disturbances in thought, convulsions, coma, and lethal
depression of the vital centers of the brain.
primarily by breathing, affect body functions through actions on an
intracellular enzyme called cytochrome oxidase.
This stops normal
metabolism in every cell in the body, and the cells are unable to use the
oxygen brought to them by the blood. The body tissues are rapidly damaged
by this failure to utilize oxygen.
(4) Vomiting Agents.
Compounds causing vomiting may also cause
coughing, sneezing, pain in the nose and throat, nasal discharge, tears, as
well as headache often following.
Chemical agents that are readily absorbed by
both exterior and interior parts of the body, causing inflammation,
blisters, and general destruction of tissues. Besides affecting the skin,
the agent vapors attack the respiratory tract with the effects usually more
severe in the upper tract. Eyes are very susceptible to blister agents.
(6) Tear Agents.
Compounds causing a large flow of tears and
intense, although temporary, eye pain when used in normal field
The tear agent CS is very irritating to the respiratory
tract mucosa, causing the sensation of difficulty in respiration. In high
concentrations, tear compounds are irritating to the skin and cause a
temporary burning and itching sensation. High concentrations can also cause
burns, nausea, and vomiting.
Duration of Effectiveness of Chemical Agents. Factors that determine
the duration of time a chemical agent exists at the point of dissemination
a. Physical Properties of the Agent.
Volatility is one physical
property that is especially important in determining the duration of
effectiveness of an agent. Viscosity is another important property.