Biological and Chemical Weapons  >>Chemical Weapons Information
Chemical Weapons Information Table
NAME CODE TYPE PERSISTENCE AT 21-32C (HOURS) PERSISTENCE AT 4-16C (HOURS) ACTION STATE
AT 20C
ODOR REMARKS
PHOSGENE CG CHOKING 0.5 1 RAPID COLORLESS GAS GREEN CORN OR NEW MOWN HAY MAY BE KNOWN AS COLLONGITE
DIPHOSGENE DP CHOKING .5-3 1-4 RAPID COLORLESS LIQUID GREEN CORN OR NEW MOWN HAY MAY BE KNOWN AS SUPERPALITE
TABUN GA NERVE 24-48 48-96 VERY RAPID COLORLESS TO BROWN LIQUID FRUITY TO NONE --
SARIN GB NERVE .5-24 24-36 VERY RAPID COLORLESS LIQUID NEAR ODORLESS --
SOMAN GD NERVE 24-48 48-96 VERY RAPID COLORLESS LIQUID CAMPHOR TO FRUITY --
VX VX NERVE 240-720 720-2160 RAPID COLORLESS LIQUID ODORLESS --
HYDROGEN CYANIDE AC BLOOD .25-.5 .5-1 VERY RAPID COLORLESS GAS OR LIQUID BITTER ALMONDS DEGRADES FILTERS
CYANOGEN CHLORIDE CK BLOOD .25-.5 .5-1 RAPID COLORLESS GAS WEAKLY LIKE BITTER ALMONDS DEGRADES FILTERS
ARSINE SA BLOOD .08-.25 .25-.5 DELAYED COLORLESS GAS MILD GARLIC --
DISTILLED MUSTARD HD BLISTER 24-48 48-96 DELAYED COLORLESS TO PALE YELLOW LIQUID GARLIC LESS CONCENTRATED MIX MAY BE KNOWN AS "HS" OR YPERITE
NITROGEN MUSTARD HN-1 BLISTER 24-48 48-96 DELAYED DARK LIQUID FISHY OR MUSTY --
NITROGEN MUSTARD HN-2 BLISTER 24-36 48-72 DELAYED DARK LIQUID SOAPY TO FRUITY --
NITROGEN MUSTARD HN-3 BLISTER 48-72 96-144 DELAYED DARK LIQUID NEAR ODORLESS --
PHOSGENE OXIME CX BLISTER 2-4 3-6 IMMEDIATE COLORLESS SOLID OR LIQUID SHARP AND PENETRATING --
LEWISITE L BLISTER 18-36 48-72 RAPID DARK BROWN OR YELLOW OIL/LIQUID MAY RESEMBLE GERANIUMS --
MUSTARD LEWISITE HL BLISTER 24-36 48-72 DELAYED DARK BROWN OR YELLOW OIL/LIQUID GARLIC --
ETHYLDICHLOROARSINE ED BLISTER 1-2 2-3 IMMEDIATE COLORLESS LIQUID FRUITY AND BITING VERY WATER SOLUBLE; BECOMES VERY NON-PERSISTENT IN RAIN, ETC.
METHYLDICHLOROARSINE MD BLISTER 2-4 4-8 RAPID COLORLESS LIQUID ODORLESS --
DIPHENYL-DICHLOROARSINE DA VOMITING 1-2 2-4 VERY RAPID WHITE TO BROWN SOLID ODORLESS ALWAYS SPREAD AS AN AEROSOL
ADAMSITE DM VOMITING 1-2 2-4 VERY RAPID YELLOW TO GREEN SOLID ODORLESS --
DIPHENYLCYANOARSINE DC VOMITING 1-2 2-4 VERY RAPID WHITE TO PALE SOLID BITTER ALMOND-GARLIC MIX OFTEN USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH GB; MAY BE KNOWN AS STERNITE
CHLOROACETOPHENOME CN RIOT 1-2 2-3 INSTANT SOLID APPLE BLOSSOMS --
CHLOROACETOPHENOME IN CHLOROFORM CNC RIOT 1-2 2-3 INSTANT LIQUID CHLOROFORM ALWAYS SPREAD AS AN AEROSOL
CHLOROACETOPHENOME AND CHLOROPICRIN IN CHLOROFORM CNS RIOT 1-2 2-3 INSTANT LIQUID FLYPAPER ALWAYS SPREAD AS AN AEROSOL
CHLOROACETOPHENOME IN BENZENE AND CARBON TETRACHLORIDE CNB RIOT 1-2 2-3 INSTANT LIQUID BENZENE --
BROMOBENZYLCYANIDE CA RIOT 24-48 48-96 INSTANT LIQUID SOURED FRUIT MAY BE KNOWN AS CAMITE
O-CHLORO- BENZYLMALONONITRILE CS RIOT 168-336 168-336 INSTANT COLORLESS TO WHITE SOLID PEPPER --
BZ BZ INCAPACITATING 240-480 720-1440 DELAYED DUST -- NO LONGER IN ACTIVE SERVICE; EFFECTS WILDLY UNPREDICTABLE

This file lists the known chemical agents currently in military applications worldwide.

The datafile does not include several agents (chlorine, for example) which have been in disuse, but which could conceivably be revived. Database users must exercise their judgment. Additionally, mixtures of agents (GB/HD, for example) sometimes have slightly different properties and effects than when used separately. Biological agents have extremely difficult parameters and were omitted intentionally; they may be added later if sufficient, easily interpretable data can be obtained at the unclassified level.

No attempt to define "persistent" and "non-persistent" has been made here. Persistence is related to delivery means, weather, vegetation, humidity, and other factors. Instead, the approximate persistence (in hours) appears in two columns based solely on temperature - it is a guide only to explain the relative persistence of agents to each other.

The action column describes the relative speed of the agent on exposed personnel. The speed is relative to the other agents listed, with "instant" and "immediate" being the fastest, and "delayed" the slowest - often meaning hours or days later. The degree of exposure, the type of exposure (skin, inhalation, ingestion, etc) and other factors determine the effect on any potential casualty.

The "state" and "odor" columns give observers some reference as to what to expect if an agent is present. However, agents can be mixed with other materials, altering their signatures. These are some potential indicators that agents are present; when suspected, agents are best detected by dedicated chemical detection equipment.

Neither physiological effects nor nation or origin were added to the table. Oftentimes, agents cause certain effects when inhaled, others when ingested, and still others when absorbed. Nation of origin was regarded as immaterial, given the relative ease of producing most agents. Although some agents are tactically delivered by only selected means, since most can be delivered by a wide range of methods, no attempt has been made to list these here.

Contact:  Michael Stebbins (mstebbins@fas.org)
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