Nerve agents are very poisonous chemicals designed to attack the nervous
system. They can be used as weapons during war, or by terrorists. Generally,
nerve agents are most dangerous in gas form. When released into a crowded area,
people may inhale them and become suddenly ill or die. In liquid form, nerve
agents can be used to poison food and water.
There are several nerve agents, including sarin, soman, tabun and VX.
In the 1990s, terrorists released sarin gas in Japan on two separate occasions.
Several people were killed and thousands were injured.
Symptoms of exposure
- Nausea, vomiting and
- Small pupils
- Runny eyes and nose
- Blurred vision
- Uncontrolled urination
- Rapid breathing
- Convulsions (severe
How to respond if you
While it’s very unlikely
that nerve agents would be used in an attack, it’s not impossible. In case of
exposure, people should take the following actions:
- Leave the contaminated
area quickly and seek fresh air. If the attack is outdoors, move to higher
ground (nerve agents sink to low-lying areas).
- Remove your outer
clothing, and set it aside for removal by authorities.
- Wash your body
thoroughly and rinse your eyes out for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Get medical attention.
You may require treatment for full recovery.
Chemical Preparedness Resources
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