International Handbook on Chemical Weapons Proliferation

By Gordon M. Burck; Charles C. Flowerree | Go to book overview

Appendix A2 Glossary

Australia Group: an organization of 20 Western states that meets biannually to share intelligence on, and coordinate export control regulations of, chemicals and technology necessary to develop a CW-production capability, in an effort to stem the proliferation of chemical weapons. The group is so called since the meetings originated in 1985 at the Australian embassy in Paris.

binary weapons: chemical munitions in which the relatively nontoxic components of the lethal chemical agent are stored in two separate canisters. Upon launch or firing, the membrane separating the canisters ruptures and the chemicals react, creating a nerve agent.

biological agents: microorganisms or microbial products capable of use in biological warfare to produce casualties in man or livestock or damage to crops. They produce casualties through disease-causing infection.

blister agents: chemicals that inflict casualties by destroying body surface skin tissue, causing inflammation and blisters. The eyes and mucous membranes (nose, lungs), as well as any moist skin areas, are especially susceptible. These agents are generally odorless and very persistent. Both inhalation and cutaneous contact are casualty-producing. Mustard gas and Lewisite are examples of blister agents.

blood agents: chemicals that prevent the utilization of the blood oxygen, resulting in tissue damage and then asphyxiation; they are highly volatile. Examples are hydrogen cyanide (AC) and cyanogen chloride. They are absorbed into the body through inhalation.

chemical weapons: the strictly offensive components of a chemical warfare capability -- chemical warfare agents, the specialized munitions that contain the agents, and any specialized delivery systems. The term is often ambiguous; more precise terminology is "CW agents" or "CW munitions."

Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC): the multilateral treaty that would ban development production, stockpiling, and transfer of chemical weapons.

choking agents: chemicals that cause irritation and inflammation of the bronchial tubes

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